In its natural form, tobiko is bright orange. But when infused with certain flavors, the colors change. The most common colors/flavors are:
• Green (wasabi)
• Red (Beet)
• Black (Squid Ink)
Tobiko is hardy and can hold up to processing better than more fragile fish roes such as sturgeon and salmon, so this makes it cheaper. More fragile fish roes have to be separated by hand; tobiko can be separated in a centrifuge. It can survive being frozen much better than other roes. The texture is crunchy, and the taste is a combination of salty and nutty.
I like to put various flavored tobiko in a chirashi bowl.
(Images: Kathryn Hill)