All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Mentaiko no shionuki / desalinating spicy salted pollock roe

As with other salted food, mentaiko contains a high amount of sodium. Simply soaking it in water or even in salted water makes it bland. The secret is to add some red chili pepper in order to retain some spiciness while eliminating excessive sodium.

(Per several mentaiko)
Mentaiko spicy salted pollock roe
200-250 cc water
1 tbsp sake
1-2 tsp mirin
1-2 tbsp Korean red chili pepper powder


In a small container, mix water, sake, mirin and Korean red chili pepper powder.
Wrap mentaiko with cheesecloth, and soak.

15% of sodium is eliminated in 1 hour, and almost 40% in 2 hours.


When desired amount of sodium is eliminated, drain, place on top of paper towel, and keep refrigerated until use.

  • Wrapping mentaiko with cheesecloth helps it to keep its shape. A paper towel might work, too. Without any wrapping, some parts of mentaiko will burst while soaking.
  • Korean red chili pepper powder is mild. If using other types of red chili pepper, adjust the amount accordingly.
  • The product above consists of three small mentaiko roe sacs (20g each) in one package. Each piece contains 403 mg sodium, according to the package label. In my experiment, the sodium content is reduced to approximately 340 mg after one hour of desalination, and to about 250 mg after two hours.

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