Quail Egg Sushi • Sushi on whole different level

Written by Peter Allen on . Posted in food

If you are a big fan of sushi then tobiko with quail egg also known as quail egg sushi is something you would want to try out. It is sushi on another different level entirely, the idea of quail egg yolk seating perfectly on a well-prepared tobiko is indeed a remarkable sight.

The quail egg sushi also happens to be one of my favorite type of sushi. This is so because there is a sort of sweet story that goes with the first time I tried it. It is a story of how I met my beautiful wife who was a sushi chef at the time.

I was on a job somewhere in Japan and I was seriously craving for some sushi. So, I went into this sushi eat out and ordered for inari sushi, but the beautiful chef (currently my wife) suggested I try out the quail egg sushi. Initially I was a bit skeptical about the idea because I felt she was just trying to promote it.

I tried it anyway, and I can say it was quite tasteful. it was at that moment I noticed the beautiful chef standing close to me smiling. To cut the long story short, I got her number and a couple of months later we were walking down the aisle.

It is quite unfortunate though that this type of sushi is not really a sought after dish and hence it is not very popular among sushi lovers (except for hardcore sushi lovers), and I believe this is so basically because people don’t know about it.

I can assure you this will no longer be a problem as I shall be presenting to you on this article the amazing quail egg sushi. So, sit back, relax (get a drink and popcorn if you can) as I take you on a journey on everything there is to know about the unique quail egg sushi.

What is quail egg sushi?

What indeed is the quail egg sushi? A question that is now asked amongst sushi lovers. Quail egg sushi otherwise known as tobiko with a quail egg is a type of Japanese sushi that comprises of quail egg yolk in combination with tobiko (flying fish roe) and other ingredients like rice etc.

Basically, this sushi consists of rice wrapped all around by carefully cut out thin strips of nori. This is done in such a way that a hole tends to be in the middle like a cup. The hole in the middle is usually filled with tobiko after which the quail egg yolk is then placed or seated on top of the tobiko.

Note that the yolk is usually very slippery so one must ensure that the rice and nori combination should be done carefully such that the height of the nori is slightly above that of the sushi rice, hence, it can support both the tobiko and quail egg yolk.

It may interest you to know that this sushi is also very nutritious.

Sushi generally is not a fattening food as it is quite low in calorie, with the rice in it bringing more of carbohydrate to the table. It is also quite rich in terms of fiber due to the presence of the seaweed. While the quail egg, on the other hand, is rich in proteins and vitamins, which, of course is very good for the body. Although the yolk has a high level of cholesterol and saturated fats, so you might want to be cautious of that.

As per the origin of this sushi, there isn’t much to say about it aside from the fact that it originated in the 1820s to 1830s or around the same time the nigiri style of sushi became popular in the Tokyo or Edo. I’m not sure who discovered the genius idea of adding quail egg to sushi or the restaurant where it was first tried out, but there have been statements made by some unknown individuals claiming that they discovered this sushi.

The raw quail egg sushi also comes in three different forms, which include the quail egg nigiri, quail egg gunkanmaki and quail egg temarizushi.

The quail egg nigiri or nigirizushi, otherwise known as a hand pressed sushi is oblong mound sushi made by compressing the sushi rice in between the palms to form a sort of oval-shaped ball. On most occasion, it can be served with a small amount of wasabi or better still the sushi rice is bounded with strips of nori and topped with the yolk of the quail egg.

The quail egg gunkanmaki also known as warship roll sushi, is also oval-shaped, made by hand-formed mold of sushi rice that has a segment of nori folded over its edge to form a hole loaded with delicate, slippery ingredients that require the support of the nori such as tobiko. Which it is also topped with the quail egg yolk.

It is said that Gunkanmaki was concocted at the Ginza Kyubey eatery in 1941, its creation essentially extended the collection of delicate toppings utilized in sushi. The gunkanmaki also happens to be a very popular quail egg sushi compared to the others. The quail egg temarizushi commonly known as ball sushi, is made by squeezing rice and fish into a ball-molded structure by hand, utilizing a cling wrap.

Note: For persons that don’t know what tobiko is, it is a flying fish roe that is commonly known for making numerous types of sushi, they are usually very small in size, ranges from red to orange color, has a mild smoky and salty taste and a very crunchy texture.

Quail egg sushi recipe

This recipe is one that I have perfected over the years and its ingredients are neither complex nor are they difficult to find. The instructions are also quite easy to follow. To prepare quail egg sushi you will need the following quail egg sushi ingredients:

  • 1½ cups of sushi rice
  • 1 nori sheet
  • 4 fresh quail eggs
  • 4 oz of Tobiko


  1. Carefully slice the nori strips such that each sheet should be cut into thirds
  2. Create a sort of bed for the ingredients using a sizable amount of sushi rice. Once this is done, roll the bed into a cylindrical shape about 1.7 inches high and 2.7 inches long.
  3. After completing step two, carefully wrap the nori strip around the rice making a fine cup shape, fill the cup with tobiko to slightly below the rim of the nori sheet.
  4. For the final step, simply crack the quail egg on top of the already arranged tobiko and enjoy the amazing taste of quail egg sushi.

For the sushi rice, you will need the following ingredients: 5 cups of short-grain sushi rice, 4 cups of water or more, ½ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tbs of sugar, 1 tsp of salt. To prepare, wash the rice with clean water. Over medium heat place the pot with some quantity of water in it and allow to cook for at least 5-10 minutes before pouring in your washed rice.

While the cooking is going on, pour the rice vinegar in a bowl, add the sugar and salt then mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the boiling rice and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. Turn off the heat when all form of water has dried up in the rice.

Note: most people usually just take the egg yolk and place it on top of the tobiko, maybe to avoid the slippery texture of the egg white. While some others like myself will just use the whole egg. Either way, the taste, and texture remain the same because once the egg is broken you won’t even notice the egg white.

So, if you are one of those that prefer only the yolk of the egg, simply use your hand or a spoon to remove the egg yolk from the white and carefully place on top of the tobiko.

Interesting facts about eating the quail egg sushi

  • The quail egg nigiri should be eaten upside down – The quail egg nigiri is best enjoyed by turning it upside such that the yolk touches the tongue first before the rest of the sushi. The nigiri sushi should also be eaten with hands rather than chopsticks to enable you to keep the sushi together and rotate it easily.
  • Nori has some disgusting origins – Nori, which happens to be the seaweed used in wrapping the sushi, was at some point removed from undersides of boats. It was then pressed, and spread on nylon sheets, then dried in the sun for hours. Nowadays, nori is cultivated and farmed. Although western brands do prefer to toast nori for safety purposes, many Japanese brands don’t really pay too much attention to that and still want to protect their fishy taste.
  • It is said that when consuming the quail egg sushi, one should be mindful of its texture rather than the taste, which has a mild flavor and umami taste all in one bite.


As a huge fan of sushi, the quail egg sushi is indeed one you should try out and I think I have given just more enough information and reasons to make you want to check it out. So, stop salivating and go make yourself one mean tasty quail egg sushi.

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Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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