What Does Narutomaki Taste Like?

Narutomaki fish cake

Japanese are known for their seafood cuisine. The variety available is mind-blowing, and there is always something for someone to like.

Narutomaki is a popular delicacy known for its great texture and taste worldwide. You may find it in a few famous and much-loved foods such as ramen, oden, and nimono.

Narutomaki has a mild texture and flavor and tastes similar to gefilte fish. That said, it doesn't have a strong fishy smell, which is a plus for many.

If you need to know more about Narutomaki and its different uses in your recipes, keep reading.


looking to make it at home? Check out this narutomaki recipe.

What Is Narutomaki?

Made from blended or minced fish, Narutomaki is a type of fish cake, perfectly steamed before use. This fish cake was first discovered in Japan and took its name from Naruto whirlpools located in the country. Narutomaki has pink swirls in the middle that resemble the real whirlpools quite well.

Unlike common belief, Narutomaki is not made for ramen dishes only. Instead, it is also a primary component in entrees and salads. In fact, many people enjoy this fish cake as a side dish with every main meal.

You can easily find a Narutomaki in a bowl of ramen. It resembles a white cloud and has a pink or red swirl in the center.

One of the best qualities of Narutomaki is that it is a versatile ingredient. The fish cake is quite flavorful, meaning you can add it to your recipe and witness the overall taste elevate.

Initially, manufacturers used minced catfish as the primary ingredient in this delicacy. However, now, it is made from different white fish, such as DaggerTooth Pie and Golden Threadfin Bream.

Certain types of Narutomaki also have squid and minced shrimp.

How Does Narutomaki Taste like?

Now that you know what Narutomaki is let's talk about its taste. This special component comes from logged and steamed white fish paste. The color pink in the middle is from the food dye, which has no flavor.

Narutomaki tastes quite like gefilte fish, a dish served on many Jewish holidays. It is neither too salty nor sweety. In fact, Narutomaki has a mild flavor that doesn't empower other ingredients.

That said, if the dish has more sugar and salt content, your Narutomaki may taste similar.

Another great thing about Narutomaki is its subtle flavor combined with a smoother texture. Since it comes from a starchy mixture, the texture is rubbery and chewy.

Although it is made of fish, Narutomaki has no bad smell. Thankfully, the strong taste and smell are eliminated because of the washing method used.

Other qualities of this delicacy include its high calcium and protein levels, making Narutomaki a healthy ingredient. Besides, it is low in calories and fats, a plus for people on a weight loss journey.

Narutomaki with pink swirls

Can You Cook Narutomaki?

Here's the good news. You can readily find Narutomaki in most major stores worldwide. Moreover, it is usually available in bags so that you can grab one or two packs according to your needs.

However, if you can't find one urgently, you can make Narutomaki in your home. But it isn't as easy as you might have thought.

Bring home a white fish and remove its fats. Rinse the fish properly before adding it to your food processor.

Then, use the food processor to make a fish paste. Divide the paste into two halves and add the pink dye in one half.

Put the paste colored in pink on the white paste and carefully flatten it to form a roll later.

Once rolled, Narutomaki may start looking like a log. However, you may witness the Naruto whirlpool once you start slicing it. While rolling, ensure to eliminate any air pockets.

You can also add sugar and salt while processing the fish. The amount of each depends on your preferred taste.

After that's done, steam the rolled fish cake in your steamer and let it cool before cutting it for serving.

How to Use Narutomaki?

Since this is a versatile ingredient, you don't have to worry about pairing Narutomaki with other components in a recipe. For example, while this fish cake tastes divine in ramen noodles, you can also use a slice or two in other dishes.

Some examples:

  • Narutomaki makes a great addition to cold noodles such as soba and udon.
  • If you like dishes with dry noodles, elevate their taste by adding this fantastic component.
  • Narutomaki also tastes excellent in dishes containing dashi broth.
  • If you want to experiment, deep fry Narutomaki and make tempuras out of this fish cake.
  • You can increase the flavor of your soups and salads by using Narutomaki as a crouton.
  • If you want to follow the trend, include it in your ramen burgers.
  • If you aren't ready to cook anything and are only craving a snack, you can dip Narutomaki in siracha or your favorite dipping sauce.

Narutomaki in noodles

Final Words

If you thought Narutomaki was just an ingredient for your ramen noodles, we hope we have convinced you to use it in many other ways. Since this fish cake tastes mild and has a smooth texture, you can use it in various recipes. However, make sure that you include the correct amount of salt and sugar to prevent ruining your dish.

In addition, Narutomaki is readily available, but you might sometimes get unlucky. In that case, prepare the fish cake yourself in your kitchen. The process might take hours, but the results are always delicious and mouthwatering.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can You Do With Narutomaki?

Narutomaki is a swirl-like fish cake with a mild texture and flavor. It contains jagged edges and can be easily cut into small slices to use as toppings on your oden, ramen, and soup bowl.

Is Narutomaki Actually Fish?

This ingredient is made from surimi, a paste featuring white fish. The paste is first molded to form a log and then adequately steamed. The pink color found in Narutomaki comes from a pink dye used in one-half of the paste.

What Is Narutomaki Taste?

It has a mild taste with a chewy texture. While Narutomaki resembles gefilte fish in flavor, it is far more rubbery than the latter.

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