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What is Masago? What are the Downsides and Benefits of Capelin Fish Roe?

What is Masago? Benefits and Side Effects of Capelin Fish Roe


What is Masago? What are the Downsides and Benefits of Capelin Fish Roe?

Fish roe is the fully ripened eggs from many fish species, including sturgeon and salmon.

Masago, also known as the roe or capelin, is a small fish that lives in the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific oceans.

Masago, a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine is prized for its unique taste and is considered a special product.

This article examines the nutritional benefits, side effects, and uses for Masago.

What is Masago?

Smelt roe, also known as Masago, are edible eggs of the Mallotus villosus capelin fish. They belong to the smelt family.

They are considered food fish and provide food for larger predators such as seabirds, whales, codfish, seals, and seals.

These tiny, silvery-green fish resemble sardines.

Although the flesh of capelin can be eaten, fishermen are most interested in it to make other products like Masago.

Around 80% of the capelin harvested is used for fishmeal and oil products. The remaining 20% is used for Masago production.

Around 2-4 years old, female capelins begin to release eggs and continue spawning until they die.

Masago is taken from female capelin fish when they are full of eggs, but before they have the opportunity to spawn.

It is commonly used in sushi rolls. Although it is pale yellow, it can be dyed brightly, such as orange, red, and green to add visual interest to dishes.

It has a mild taste and can be mixed with other ingredients such as wasabi, squid Ink, or ginger.

Masago vs. tobiko:

Masago is sometimes confused with tobiko, which refers to the eggs or roe of flyingfish.

Masago and tobiko are similar, but they have important differences.

Masago is smaller than tobiko and therefore is a popular alternative to tobiko for sushi rolls.

Masago is a yellowish color that contrasts with the bright red tobiko. It is dyed often to increase visual interest.

Smelt roe is similar to tobiko but has a more crunchy texture. Tobiko and Masago taste very similar.

However, because of its high quality and cost, tobiko is considered to be a higher-end sushi ingredient.


Masago is a female capelin fish that has been caught before they have the chance to spawn. It is often used in sushi and dyed to give dishes more visual interest.

Low in calories, but high in nutrients:

Smelt roe, like other types of fish roe, is low in calories and high in important nutrients.

Only 1 ounce (28g) of fish roe has:

  • Calories: 40
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: Less than 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 7% Daily Value (DV).
  • Vitamin E: 10% of DV
  • Riboflavin B2: 12% of DV
  • Vitamin B12: 47% DV
  • Folate (B9) – 6% of DV
  • Phosphorus: 11% DV
  • Selenium: 16% DV

Fish roe has a high level of vitamin B12, which is a water-soluble vitamin your body can’t produce on its own.

Vitamin B12 is essential for many functions including red blood cell development and energy production as well as nerve transmission and DNA synthesis.

Masago fish roe is low in carbohydrates but high in protein and healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acid.

These polyunsaturated oils help to regulate inflammation and are essential for the proper functioning of your immune system and hormones.

Fish roe also contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins including lysine and valine as well as histidine, lysine, histidine, leucine, and isoleucine.

Leucine, lysine, and valine are vital for protein synthesis as well as muscle repair.


Fish roe has low calories but high levels of nutrients such as healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Possible health benefits:

Smelt roe, like other seafood, is healthy and has many health benefits.

High-quality protein is available in abundance:

Masago is small in size but packs a strong punch of protein.

A single 1 ounce (28g) serving provides 6 grams of high-quality protein, which is about the same amount as a 50-gm egg.

Protein is more satiating than carbs and fat, which are two other macronutrients.

You can keep your weight under control by adding protein-rich foods such as Smelt roe to your diet.

Fish roe can be considered a complete protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids your body requires.

Natural source of vitamin B12 and selenium:

Masago is rich in selenium, which acts as an antioxidant in the body.

Selenium is a mineral found in high concentrations of seafood. It reduces oxidative stresses and plays a critical role in your immune system and thyroid.

Although research has shown that selenium levels in the blood may increase immune response and prevent mental declines, it is not clear if this is true.

Masago also contains high levels of vitamin B12, which are crucial for nerve health, energy production, and other vital bodily functions.

High in Omega-3 fatty acid:

Omega-3 fats, which are polyunsaturated fats, have many health benefits.

These fats are essential to your cell membranes and regulate inflammation.

Research shows that a higher intake of omega-3 fats-rich foods is associated with lower risks of developing heart diseases, such as heart failure and coronary heart disease.

Omega-3 fats are best found in fish and fish products such as Smelt roe.

Low in mercury:

Capelin, a small fish forage fish, tends to have a lower mercury level than other fish like mackerel or swordfish.

Research has shown that fish roe is less mercury than other parts of the fish, such as organs or muscle tissue.

If you want to reduce mercury exposure, fish roe such as Masago can safely be eaten.


Smelt roe has a high level of important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B12, and selenium.

This may have health benefits. It’s also low in mercury, which allows you to reduce your exposure to this heavy metal.

Potential Side Effects:

Masago has some health benefits but it also has its potential drawbacks.

Capelin fishing poses ecological concerns

Smelt roe is a good choice for seafood but buyers need to be aware of the potential bycatch of species that are endangered or overfished due to capelin fishing methods.

Concerns about certain fishing methods and capelin populations are expressed by environmental organizations.

Some environmental groups are concerned that Masago’s demand may be impacted by the fact that egg-bearing females capelins are frequently targeted to support the demand.

High sodium content:

Masago, like most fish roes, is high in sodium.

To enhance the taste of masago, salty ingredients such as salt and soy sauce are often added to it. This increases its sodium content.

Salt intake can cause health problems and increase blood pressure in salt-sensitive individuals.

Allergy risk:

Masago is a seafood product so people who are allergic should avoid it.

Vitellogenin is a protein found in fish roe that has been identified as an allergen.

Even worse, people who don’t have seafood allergies can be allergic to fish roe.

These reactions include skin rashes, narrowing of the airways, and low blood pressure.

The sixth most common food allergy in Japan is fish roe.

You can combine them with other ingredients

Smelt roe users may be concerned about the ingredients it is commonly mixed with, such as monosodium glutamate and high fructose corn syrup.

Consuming high fructose corn syrup regularly can cause disruptions in metabolism, insulin resistance, inflammation, and even death.

MSG is a food additive that enhances the flavor of products such as Masago.

Research has shown that MSG can cause adverse reactions in certain people.


Smelt roe can be high in sodium and may contain high fructose corn syrup and MSG.

Some people may wish to limit this. Certain capelin fishing methods can also pose ecological problems.

How to include it in your diet:

Masago, a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine is prized for its unique taste and is considered a special product.
Sushi rolls with Masago

Masago is an unusual ingredient that can be used in many ways.

Its semi-crunchy texture, salty flavor, and mild aroma make it an excellent addition to Asian-inspired appetizers or dishes.

You can find it at many seafood vendors and in many different flavors such as ginger, wasabi, or squid ink.

These are some of the ways you can add masago to your daily diet

  • Add a few tablespoons of masago to your homemade sushi rolls.
  • For a delicious appetizer, combine Masago, cheese, fruit, and fruits on a plate
  • Use Masago to flavor rice dishes.
  • For a unique topping, spoon Masago on poke bowls
  • Add Smelt roe to Asian noodle dishes.
  • For a unique twist on a delicious recipe, top fish with Masago.
  • To make sushi rolls, mix Smelt roe with wasabi or spicy mayonnaise.

Masago is high in salt so you only need to add a little bit to get a strong flavor.

Although Masago is most commonly used in Asian cuisines, it can also be used in many other recipes that pair well with salty foods.


Masago can also be used in Asian dishes such as sushi, rice, and noodles. Masago can be added to dips or used as a topping on fish.

The Bottom line:

The edible eggs of the capelin fish are called Masago, or smelt-roe. They are high in protein and nutrients such as omega-3s, selenium, and vitamin B12.

You should be aware of roe products containing additional ingredients such as MSG or high fructose Corn Syrup.

Also, Smelt roe can cause high blood pressure. Avoid it if you are allergic to seafood.

Masago is a great option if you are able to eat seafood and want an interesting ingredient to add flavor to your dishes.

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Q: What is Masago in sushi?

A: Masago is taken from the female capelin after the fish have spawned but are still full of eggs. It is commonly used in sushi rolls. Although it is pale yellow, many people dye it bright colors to add visual interest to their dishes.

Q: Is Masago real fish eggs?

A: Masago is also known as capelin-roe. It’s the ripened egg from the capelin fish. Capelin is a foraging fish that lives in cold regions such as the Arctic, North Pacific, and North Atlantic.

Q: Is fish eggs bad for health?

A: All fish roe is very nutritious. The common advantage of fish eggs over fish oil supplements is their high level of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils. Fish eggs are better than supplements because they come from natural sources and therefore have less chance of being oxidized during processing.

Q: Can you eat fish eggs right out of the fish?

A: Raw is my favorite way to eat fish eggs. Consuming fish eggs raw is a great way to get the most out of their nutrients. … I prefer to eat the frozen roe raw because it is usually safe and clean.

Q: Can a pregnant lady eat Masago?

A: The Happy Roll is a safe choice for pregnant women. It includes tempura shrimp, masago, and jalapeno as well as cream cheese, mayo, cream cheese, and mayo.

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