Salmon Ikura Don 鮭いくら丼

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Salmon & Ikura Don | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Does your favorite Japanese restaurant offer different types of donburi?  Donburi is a very common dish served on both lunch and dinner menus in Japan.  Remember I mentioned before that Japanese food is not just all about sushi?  This particular recipe uses raw fish but served casually Donburi (rice bowl) style, which represents home cooking.  I have a few reasons why I wanted to share today’s “recipe” even though there is actually no cooking involved and it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare if rice is cooked in advance.

Salmon & Ikura Don II
First of all, this is my children’s favorite donburi.  They are really crazy about salmon sashimi and ikura and it’s interesting because these two are my most favorite ones as well (gene?).  If you are wondering, I let my son start eating sashimi when he almost turned 5 years old.  Japanese children start eating raw fish much earlier, perhaps around 3 years old or so.  However, my 3 year old daughter wouldn’t agree to wait till 5 years old when she saw her brother was eating them so she’s been eating since she turned 3.  If you want to introduce sashimi to your children, please make sure you get the most fresh sashimi from a reputable Japanese market.  Start with small amount first and then increase gradually (at least that’s what we did).  We also avoid fish that are farmed for sashimi if the option is available.

Another reason why I want to share this recipe is that a lot of my friends love Japanese food and often enjoy sushi and sashimi at a restaurant.  I really want to emphasize that today’s dish like Salmon & Ikura Don can be easily prepared at home.  You might have not thought of prepping and enjoying sashimi at home but it’s actually very economical and easy to prepare.  I’ll show you step by step on how simple it is (it’s ridiculously easy and I don’t want to call this as “recipe”…).  This is also one of my go to dish when I’m too busy to cook.

Salmon & Ikura Don III

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Salmon & Ikura Don
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2
  1. Serve rice in a donburi (or large) bowl and let it cool down a bit so that hot rice will not cook the sashimi.
  2. With a very sharp knife, slice salmon sashimi (oh, my hand is not that big, that’s my husband’s!).
  3. Place slices of salmon down like flower petals until you cover the rice.
  4. Put shiso leaf and ikura on top.
  5. Garnish with kizami nori (shredded nori). In a small soy sauce dish, add soy sauce and put wasabi on the side. Mix it up before you eat and pour on top.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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  1. Nami, this donburi looks absolutely divine! I never saw a dish like that in Japanese restaurants in Italy… but you made want to try it at home! My only concern is about raw fish… where to find it so fresh and suitable for this recipe.
    BTW, I bought nori sheets and sushi rice… I have to try something, eventually!

  2. It sure looks easy to prepare; but unfortunately it is not easy to find this ikura/salmon roe at the supermarket shelf here where I’m staying!

  3. oh no, have to hide this from my son Lucas, otherwise he will ask me to prepare this immediately! He is a Japanese food lover,hehehe..Have a great weekend Nami..Ya, i want to mention to you long time, love all your bowls, plates and cutlery set, you must bought a lot of it.

  4. yes this is super easy, it’s not really a recipe.
    I love salmon don, especially the small chunks of salmon don I had once in a restaurant. I just love it when the small chunks of salmon all mixed with rice, my sis say I’m weird.. haha. I can’t remember the japanese name for it. That restaurant don’t serve that dish anymore, and I can’t find other restaurants that serve this. Once I ordered salmon don and requested that the salmon be cut into small pieces. The chef refused my request!

    • Shannon, you are not weird! A lot of Japanese restaurants here cut sashimi TOO thick. I think that’s how customers want or think it’s worth the money when you see thick piece of raw fish, but in Japan, we don’t cut sashimi that thick… I always want thinly sliced sashimi. It’s so weird to eat a big chunk of sashimi. I’m not sure if there is a name for the dish you are talking about, but we do have cubed Maguro (tuna) for donburi, but never seen salmon version before. How funny the chef refused your special request. You should have asked fork and knife and cut at the table. LOL.

  5. I remember about the donburi post before… the kare one right? :)
    I ever eat raw fish and since that I’m don’t eat it anymore… haha ha!
    will try another next time since we have to practise our palate right? 😀
    tq for the recipe nami… the color and pic + the way u describe it makes me tempting LOL
    and tq for the tripot u mentioning, yes I need that 😉

  6. RawFoodHaven

    This is a great variation for donburi and easy to prepare but my kids would not be happy about this :) But would be a great challenge to let them try it. I will prepare this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  7. i dont think i had donbun yet before. this looks like an easy fix and better than going though the rudiments of rolling a sushi roll and you still get the same goodness. But where do i get the roe?

    • I usually get sashimi from a Japanese supermarket. They usually have several kinds of raw fish for home use, including salmon roe. It seems like there is online shop for raw fish too, in case your area doesn’t have a Japanese supermarket. One of the sites I found is:

  8. Another beautiful dish! Even the way u sliced the salmon is perfect. The recipe may be simple but there’s presentation and knife skills involved too. By the way, dumb question but is the shiso leaf for garnish or do u eat it?

    • If your knife is sharp, slicing should be easy. Yes you can eat shiso, and it has nice nutritious value for shiso too! It has high contents in polyphenols and A Beta Carotenes (Vitamin A). :-)

  9. Nami, this does look easy to prepare, too bad I don’t have sophisticated taste buds like your family. The one time I ordered donburi at a restaurant (must have been at least 15 years ago), the amount of raw fish kind of scared me, and that was the last time I ever ate it… The only way I enjoy raw fish is through spicy tuna rolls, and I know that’s not authentic Japanese, but my mouth is watering just talking about it!

  10. I love this recipe. I teach sushi classes so this is right up my alley. I was just on my way out to pick up some salmon, now I may need to go to the fish market to be sure I have sushi grade. Great recipe and I like how you shredded the nori.

    Looking forward to serving this to my clan. Thank you for sharing.

  11. That bowl looks beautiful and tasty! I still have to try making sashimi and sushi at home. I am too worried about ruining those beautiful ingredients…

  12. Exceptionally beautiful, as all your dishes! No wonder your children love such things as fish and fish roe (and not only French fries and hambuergers like many children do). I think if I were your child I would eat twice as much as I need just because the meals are so beautiful!
    I have never seen donburi in restaurants here, but then I stopped going to Japanese restaurants for anything apart from sushi (and there is only one sushi restaurant I like). I have noticed they use the cheapest rice that I recognise easily since I started to buy a very good one and they charge much more than say Thai restaurants. Food is often disappointing too… Anyway, luckily I can buy easily slmon and salmon roe, so maybe one day I’ll try this another version of oyakodon 😉

    • I’m so happy you notice the quality of Japanese rice…we pay a lot of attention to rice and it’s so important to have good rice on the table. I agree, even here in Japanese restaurants in California I’ve never had good quality rice…and it’s kind of sad. It’s not even shining like it should be! And that’s right – thank you for noticing Oyakodon (parent-child donburi). I debated if I should name this dish Oyakodon, but simple “don” gets more searched online than Oyakodon…so I gave up naming Oyakodon. Sometimes I have to give up on real Japanese name….

  13. I think this is something that my mum would absolutely love! she loves ikura and raw salmon. I myself have never tried ikura (I somehow don’t have the guts to try it ;)), but it does make very pretty food deco! Another beautiful photo, Nami :D))!

  14. Looks fabulous, as always, Nami! And I don’t even like salmon, ha! I love all of the colors in the dish, just gorgeous. My roommate would forever love me if I made this for her.

  15. Beautiful dish and yes doing sashimi at home is easy, like you said it is a question of finding good sushi grace fish. ha too funny, I blindly bought shiso leaves last year at a Korean market…it’s the first time I see the leaves on another blog.

  16. This is so beautiful!! I swear your food photography gets better and better with every single post. This should be in a magazine. You are so talented. And I love the simplicity of this recipe! I will have to wait until I get back to New York and really, really trust the fish to try it but I can’t wait! That is so great that this is your children’s favorite dish!!

  17. I love salmon sashimi! My most fave among all sashimi. 😉
    Your Salmon & Ikura Don looks too irresistible! I always love to make my own sashimi but am afraid that I don’t know how to choose fresh salmon. Do you have any helpful tips on this, Nami?
    Hope you have a great weekend! 😀

    • Lyn, please only buy sashimi grade raw fish. It should say on the package or someone has to tell you it’s okay for sashimi. I buy from a Japanese market and it says “for Sashimi”. Another option is if you go fishing and know how to cut super fresh fish….but I don’t think that was your question. 😉

      • Hi Nami! Thank you so much for all your tips on choose fresh salmon. Guessed I’ll have to go to some bigger supermarket or Japanese market like you mentioned.
        Hahaha! Yes! You’re right! I don’t think I’ll go fishing for salmon! 😛

        Have a great weekend!

  18. Your kids definitely know how to choose the best food! This looks so delicious. My favorite sashimi is salmon. To me, nothing beats the flavor in salmon… love ikura too. You have inspired me to go to the Japanese market this weekend to pick up some fresh sashimi! I can’t wait =)

  19. I love sashimi! This don buri makes me so jealous. I wish I could get sushi grade fish here. I plan on eating a lot of it when I got back to the states for a visit!! Beautiful photos! Have a great weekend.

  20. Hi! Nami
    Your pictures make me hungry(again)!. I remembered having Salmon & Ikura Don at the seafood restaurant in Matsushima. It was all natural and simply delicious. Your husband(?) made pretty nice sliced salmons here. I believe I can’t. I do trust Japanese knife, but I don’t trust my hands.:-)

  21. This is absolutely beautiful. I have never even considered raw fish at home, but you made it look so incredibly easy! How would I know if the fish is sashimi grade? Is it packaged that way? Do you buy it at specific places? You made this look SO easy and I know my husband would be indescribably happy if I ever even attempted sushi at home.

    • Hi Mary, yes it’s said on the package, or fish counter at a Japanese market should prepare it for you. I go to Japanese supermarkets for sashimi grade fish because they know how fresh the fish has to be. It’s raw fish, so you don’t want to take a risk… I mentioned above, but you can also order online if you can’t get it in your area:

  22. Oh, Nami!!! THIS I can do!!! I love salmon sashimi…and I just bought salmon roe for another dish and was wondering what to do with the rest of the pricey jar! Gorgeous photos as always…another winner! Have a great Sunday, my friend~

  23. I had a giggle when you said it was your hubby’s hand. To be honest it doesn’t look that “big” either. But it might be me eye (glasses are making everything look smaller).
    Can you believe I don’t like raw salmon? I love raw tuna, but salmon has this specific taste to it. Not my favorite, but this dish is styled so well I wouldn’t be able to say no to it. Hope you had a great weekend!

  24. This looks adorable and fascinating, simply perfect. I d love to try this dish, total raw fish lover, I just hadnt tried yet ikura, shiso, and nori seawead. What do they taste like?

  25. My goodness you make everything look so amazingly delectable. I can’t recall off of the top of my head if my local Japanese place has donburi but I will most definitely have to look the next time I am there.

  26. Edwin Taniguchi

    Is the salmon filet/sashimi that you use for the salmon and ikura don pre-frozen at -10 deg C for 24-48 hours (this is the minimum temperature that is necessary to kill the fish tapeworm ( D. latum) when consuming fresh salmon). I love to eat sashimi but do not eat salmon sashimi because I have a history of eating undercooked fresh salmon caught in Alaska, and was diagnosed with a clinical case of fish tapeworm. 4 out of 5 cases with fish tapeworm are asymptomatic but I was able to identify expelled segments the fish tapeworm because of my background in microbiology and was able to refer myself for proper medical diagnosis and treatment. You can use me as an example to warn and educate the readers of your blog about the hazards of eating
    “salmon sashimi.” “Lomi” salmon is a simple side dish made with salted raw salmon mixed with diced onions and tomatoes used in Hawaiian Luaus. It is requirement that only defrosted frozen salmon be used to make this dish to eliminate exposure to the fish parasite.

    • Hi Edwin! Thank you for the comment! The salmon filet I use or sell at (my online store) are all previously frozen and stored at a temperature much lower than -10 degree C for over 5 days. :) Thank you for your information!

  27. Tan

    Hi Nami,

    We’re big on rice here in Singapore but we use Thai rice instead. I’ve had my fair share of Japanese donburi at Japanese restaurants here and can say that the taste and texture of Japanese rice is different. Is the difference in taste attributed solely to the fact that Japanese rice was used?

    Or is there a different method or ingredient to cook Japanese rice?

    • Hi Tan! Yeah it is different, including fragrance too. Unless it’s for sushi, maybe the texture doesn’t affect too much (if you put something over rice (donburi) or fried rice or simply eat with steamed rice). However, if it’s for sushi or rice ball (onigiri), short grain Japanese rice is highly recommended because it requires certain texture and Thai rice is not optimal for that.

      I have a post about how to make rice in a rice cooker and in a pot, so you can take a look how we prepare rice, but this doesn’t really change texture/flavor. Hope this helps. :) (in rice cooker) (in pot)

  28. Janice

    Hi Nami, wanted to tell you that I made this as soon as I got the salmon from your online store. Well, as soon as I got the piece defrosted :) The salmon was so delicious and a complete hit with us. My husband is a huge fan of salmon and ikura and we both loved this donburi recipe!

    • Hi Janice! Thank you for your feedback! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the salmon! We always have this salmon in our freezer and make this when I’m too busy to cook. :) I really appreciate for your time to write feedback. Thank you!!

  29. Edwin Taniguchi

    Thanks for the recipe for the Salmon and Ikura Don. Is the fresh Salmon filet used for this dish frozen in a commercial freezer and defrosted before being used for this dish to eliminate the fish parasite, D. latum that is naturally carried by Salmon that migrate up fresh water streams to spawn? The FDA states that the freezer temperature in home refrigerators is not cold enough to kill the parasite. I have gone fishing to Alaska and have brought back wild caught Coho (Silver) Salmon and but have never eaten Salmon sashimi. I have a personal history of being infected with the D. latum parasite confirmed by clinical lab tests of the proglottid segments and ova of the Salmon after consumption of undercooked fresh wild salmon that was caught and personally brought back in individually vacuum packed frozen filets. I have never had any problems with the consumption of ikura because I learned to prepare the ikura using the freshly harvested salmon eggs that have been carefully washed in a measured salt water solution and marinated in Sake Kasu and Sake for at least one week.