my mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dipmy mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dipmy mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dipmy mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dipmy mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dipmy mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dipmy mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dip

… Because most of us have been doing it backwards and wrong and for sooooo long ! I’ve always known how to approximately make taramosalata dip, also known as “tarama” which should be a pale, creamy and almost mousse-like preparation of salt-cured fish roe, soaked bread, olive oil, lemon juice and some onion and my very recent trip to Montreal and long stay in my mama’s kitchen served as a confirmation of the “right way” to go about it. 

There are different ways to prepare this tangy, salty and fishy dip, whether in Greek, Turkish or Jewish cuisines. The fish roe eggs used are salt-cured and often referred to as fish roe caviar because they resemble small, shiny, orange beads (and sometimes they are smoked like bottarga) and are usually harvested from grey mullet or cod fish, but carp roe is the easiest to find and is most often used.

Most people use soaked bread (in water but milk is possible too) but mashed potatoes are also an option, but result in a heavier preparation, and some also use ground almonds. 

Using a light olive oil is my favorite option but some prefer a more neutral vegetable oil or a mix with some olive oil and more vegetable oil.

Lemon juice seems like a must to me but some have been known to use vinegar.

The small amount of very mild onion or shallot flavor is important and the additional bite of an added pinch of ground white pepper is optional but recommended.

So many recipes out there seem to mix things up backwards ? People unknowingly often add the soaked bread to the mixer at the beginning of the preparation and then add all the rest. The best way to make this, somewhat like a mayonnaise preparation but quite similar to a “toum” dip (see recipe here) is the onion and fish roe first, then some lemon juice, then more olive oil (to be repeated several times) and finally and only at the end, the soaked bread.

By the way, real tarama dip should be of a beige or very pale orange-pinkish color, but this depends on the ingredients used; the color of the fish roe (white fish roe is also available and is less intense in flavor), the color of the bread whether it is snow white or semi-whole wheat bread which I prefer and the oils used because olive oil will obviously darken the mixture more than a neutral and pale vegetable oil. Taramosalata should also taste intense yet feel fresh and light and smooth and not insipid or heavy nor oily or sticky.

Anyways, this is my mama’s perfect & exact recipe, but in a smaller and thus more manageable quantity, so please enjoy it … :)

my mama’s «taramosalata» fish roe dip


565 grams or 2 cups


  • 60 grams (¼ cup) salted & cured carp or cod or grey mullet roe (also called fish roe caviar)
  • 20 grams (2 tbsp) shallot or mild onion, chopped and rinsed
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 230 grams (1 cup) virgin or pomace olive oil (or a mix of half neutral vegetable oil and half extra virgin olive oil)
  • 120 grams (5 slices) white (or half whole-wheat) sliced bread, without the crusts
  • 75 ml (5 tbsp) water, for wetting the bread 
  • optional : 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) ground white pepper


  • chop the shallot or mild onion, soak or rinse in water and strain well and set aside
  • squeeze 1-2 lemons and measure out 4 tbsp of juice and set aside
  • remove the crusts from the bread and wet the slices (with the 5 tbsp of water) or simply place each slice quickly under a tap of running water and then squeeze the slices extremely well until the wet bread weighs approximately 195 grams in total (120 grams bread + 75 grams water) and break them up into smaller pieces and set aside
  • pulse the chopped shallot or onion in a food processor until finer, then add all of the fish roe and pulse again until well blended 
  • while continuously mixing, add 1 tbsp lemon juice and pulse again until creamier and then slowly add the oil in a fine stream (¼ cup maximum at a time) and keep mixing until completely blended
  • add 1 tbsp of lemon juice again and mix, then slowly add some oil again (¼ cup maximum at a time) while continuously mixing and repeat 2 more times (the lemon juice first lemon and then the olive oil after)
  • little by little, as the food processor is continuously mixing, add the wet bread until all is used and keep mixing until creamy & smooth
  • adjust to your taste with some ground white pepper (or not) and refrigerate for several hours so the flavors blend well before serving
  • serve the chilled tarama dip with breads or breadsticks and keep the unused portions refrigerated for 1 week or up to 2 weeks maximum in an airtight container.
  • *note : for a more festive presentation, you can serve the tarama dip, as I did, with a few pinches of fish roe caviar on top, a slice of preserved lemon, a few black olives and a drizzle of olive oil …