In Asian cuisine, Sushi has its own separate fan base. The Fish Roe especially served in Asian cuisine, are completely ripened eggs of various different types of fish. These varieties include salmon, sturgeon and herring. One such pretty popular dish is the Masago.
Being popular in Asian cuisine, Masago roe is considered as a special product due to its distinct taste. In this blog post, we will completely focus on the Masago Sushi Eggs, Masago definition, Tobiko vs Masago and see what are its health benefits and downsides.
What is meant by Masago?
Masago, a common name for smelt roe, are basically the edible eggs Mallotus Villosus (Capelin Fish), that belonged to the smelt family. By many, Masago is considered to be a forage fish. This means that they are a pretty important source of food for large species like predators including whales, seabirds, etc.
How is Masago produced?
The flesh of capelin is edible but the fishermen often seek to manufacture other products with the same such as Masago. Where around 80% of the capelin produced is used to manufacture fish oil, fish meal and by-products, the rest of the 20% is used to manufacture Masago.
The female capelin produces eggs when they are around two to three years of age. They start it at this age and produce until death. The harvesters harvest the eggs when they get matured and the female is ready to spawn again soon.
This is then used to cook sushi rolls. Commonly seen in orange, green or red color, it actually has a pale yellow color. While cooking, they use food color to make it orange, green or red.
Masago vs Tobiko
Tobiko is the eggs or roe of flying fish. People have always been found getting confused between Masago and Tobiko. Although they are almost the same, there are some differences that you must know.
Talking about Masago, it is smaller in size and less expensive when compared to Tobiko. This is one of the major reasons why it is used as a substitute for Tobiko in the sushi rolls.
Masago originally had a pale yellow colour and is dyed with food color when cooked and/or served. Whereas, Tobiko has a naturally bright red hue.
Masago tastes a lot like Tobkio, it has a more crunchy texture, feel and taste when compared.
To summarise, both of them are similar to each other. The only major difference is that Tobiko is considered as a more expensive type of sushi provided that it is better quality and is costly too.
Health Benefits of Masago
Seafood has always been popular provided its nutritional value and a long list of health benefits. Likewise, the Masago menu has got some great health benefits as well. Some of the are mentioned below.
#1 High-Quality Protein
Although small in size, the Masago is a rich source of high-quality protein. A small serving of around 28 grams can provide you with 6 grams of protein. This is the same amount of protein as found in a large sized egg of around 50 grams.
Adding foods like Masago to your diet will aid you in eating less yet enough. In this way, your body will remain satisfied and you can lose weight.
Not just that, it has all the nine essential amino acids required by our body making it a complete protein food material.
#2 Natural Source of Selenium and Vitamin B-12
Masago eggs are a rich source of selenium. Thus, it helps as a pretty powerful antioxidant for one’s body. Selenium is found in concentrated form in seafood. Therefore, it can reduce oxidative stress and can aid in improving the thyroid and immune system. A few studies have proven that selenium rich food can help in enhancing the immune system and prevents mental decline.
Not just selenium, Masago is a rich source of Vitamin B-12 as well. Vitamin B-12 plays a vital role in energy production and improving nerve health.
#3 Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have loads of powerful health benefits. These are ploy-unsaturated fats. They are not just an integral part of one’s cell membrane but can help in regulating inflammation and control blood clotting.
A few studies have proven that Omega-3 fatty acids help in lowering the risk of heart conditions that include coronary artery disease and heart failure as well. Fish and their by-products such as Masago are the best sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
#4 Low in Mercury
Being a small forage fish, capelin has a low mercury amount when compared with other large fish like mackerel and swordfish. Also, some studies have proven that fish roe has the lowest mercury count when compared to the other parts like muscle tissue and certain organs.
That’s the reason why one can consume Masago to keep their mercury exposure to the minimum.
Downside of Masago
Though there are loads of health benefits of Masago, there are some downsides as well. Mentioned below are some of the downsides of Masago.
#1 High in Sodium Content
Like most of the other fish roe, Masago is high in sodium content as well. When often mixed with salty ingredients like regular salt or soy sauce, the sodium content ultimately increases. Some brands of Masago have been found packing 260 mg of sodium in a small serving.
#2 Risk of Allergic Reactions
As Masago’s great neck is a type of seafood, some people might find themselves allergic to it. They should avoid using any fish or their by-products. The fish roe contains vitellogenin that is considered one of the most allergic substances for one’s body.
In Japan, where the seafood is pretty popular among the common people, fish roe is the sixth most allergic food material found ever.
Masago roll or the small smelt roe are the edible eggs of capelin fish that are really good to add to your diet based on the fact that they are a rich source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin B-12 and protein.
If you are willing to add this to your diet chart, do not forget to go through the downside properly before adding it.