Ikra is a spread that’s used as an appetizer or dinner side dish. It’s very common to see this dish in homes of Eastern Europeans or even at restaurants. The dish itself is so simple, with just a few ingredients, but it’s been loved for generations.
If you’re looking for recipes with traditional Ikra, check out the Caviar recipe, made using fish roe.
Ikrawith eggplant is also known to be “poor man’s caviar.”With time, people in Russia became very creative at making different flavors of ikra, which is pretty impressive.
Now that summer is approaching, keep ikra in mind when you visit farmers markets. The wonderful thing is that ikra can stay fresh for weeks, refrigerated; which alone makes it a keeper 🙂
How to Make Ikra?
Ikra preparation is really quick. Bake the eggplant ahead of time, remove skin and cut into small cubes. Chop onion also into small cubes and sauté with a bit of oil until golden brown. Add eggplant and tomato sauce to the onion and let it simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
How to store Ikra?
Ikra can stay fresh for up to two weeks refrigerated. Keep it in a sealed container until ready to serve.
What to serve Ikra with?
Ikra is best served with fresh slice of bread or with a cheese board as one of the sides. It goes perfect with any appetizer.
Other Spreads & Dips to Try
- Spinach Artichoke Dip – Cheesy hot veggie dip
- Garlic Avocado Spread – 5 minute creamy avocado dip
- Vegetable Zucchini Spread Recipe – Slavic-style veggie dip
- Tzatziki Sauce – Greek yogurt & cucumber dip
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 small onions
- 2 oz tomato sauce
- oil for cooking
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Slice eggplants into halves and place them on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 40 minutes at 350°F. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely.
- Prepare all ingredients for the recipe.
- Dice onions into tiny cubes. Sauté in an oiled skillet until they’re golden brown.
- Remove skin from the eggplant and dice them into tiny cubes.
- To the cooking onions, add eggplant and tomato sauce. Cook on very low heat for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve ikra as a spread for appetizers or as a side dish.
This is my Armenian version of Ikra.
Grill eggplants, onion, tomatoes & a head of garlic on hot charcoals until blistered & charred (broiling would be fine too.) Peel, chop and cook down to your desired consistency. I usually add a serrano or jalapeño to the mix as well.
Hi Ara- ahh that sounds so delicious! Thank you for sharing with us 😀
Thanks so much!! For this recipe!! Making second time!! It’s so delicious 😋
I am so glad you loved the recipe, thank you for taking the time to comment!
Thank you, love all your recipes and content. Just a tip, as I recently found out and changed all my cookware. Noticed you use foil and it is harmful to bake with, (studies linked with neurological effects) I replaced with unbleached Unwaxed parchment paper sheets. Also all nonstick cookware/bake ware is too, (just the fumes kill birds suddenly- you can find the studies ) “nonstick” aka “Teflon” was created by chemical weapons manufacturer DuPont. I replaced with cast iron (not enameled), 100% stainless steel, or my favorite clay (unglazed) as it infuses all food cooked with minerals from the clay each time.
Oh Lidia, I hope that you & the birds are neurologically fine. Yes, cast iron is the way to go, yet my 15-year-old parrot has never complained about my cooking. What we all need is more walks in nature.
Hi Lidia, thank you for sharing all your tips. I know this will be useful for many people. Have a great day!
We have a big vegetable garden with eggplant right now. Can the Eggplant Ikra Spread be frozen? I saw where someone asked about canning it, but wondering about what I can do with all this eggplant that is coming in now. Thank you
Hey, yes, you can definitely freeze it. Such a great veggie to have in your garden. Enjoy it!
I remember my Mom making Ukranian Ikra and I think she used tomatoes and green peppers and she would grind all veggies in a meat grinder and then saute in oil. Is this a different version? Do you have a reipelike that? Please advise.
Thanks in advance
My Ukrainian mother made a version like that. It was approximately even amounts of chopped eggplant, green bell pepper, and onion. In place of tomato sauce, she would use the bottled chili sauce you find next to the ketchup in the grocery store. The chili sauce added a little spice, and it also included vinegar for tanginess. It sounds very similar to what you are looking for. But the veggies were just chopped, not put through the grinder.
Would that be ajvar? Was there vinegar added?
I am not familiar with that combination. The Ikra I grew up eating was with zucchini.
We have many Russian guests at our small hotel, I make homemade Kvas now, but I think this and the zuchinni vegetable spread would make a lovely welcome basket with some dark bread. What do you think??
Yes, for sure. You can make it in advance in large batches. Where is your hotel?
OMG I love that you roasted the eggplants! My mother in law makes eggplant ikra all the time but normally she sautees the eggplant in the skillet. This is such an easy alternative. Saving it.
Katya, I feel like it gets rid of some of the extra liquids when you pre-bake the eggplant. But skillet also works well 🙂
Ikra is seriously one of the most delicious things to spread on bread, well besides salted butter 😉 But for real, all those flavors are just so good, and so healthy!
Lol, I like that you compared Ikra to butter. 🙂
This eggplant caviar makes me think of hot summer days and eating outside. It looks absolutely delicious!
Yes, I agree with you. In the summer I love serving Ikra with some bomb grilled meats.
Been craving this dish for days now. Got the eggplant but no tomato sauce. Can I use fresh tomatoes? Maybe add some ketchup? Or would you recommend sticking to the recipe?
You can use tomatoes but keep it in higher heat to evaporate the juices.
Thanks Natalya, I waited till I got the tomatoe sauce, and it was worth the wait. Made twice already! It's perfect!
Perfect, I am so glad you loved it 🙂
Made this yesturday. This is so yummy!! My family loooves egg plant spread. I have been looking for an easy good recipe. This is defiantly it! Thank You so much for sharing!
This makes me so happy! I am glad you guys loved it!
Yum! Will have to try. Do you know any brands it compares to?
Trader Joe’s Carrie’s a delightful eggplant garlic spread in glass jars. It’s almost exactly like Russian Ikra without green pepper. I prefer my homemade but TJ’s is good too. There is also a red pepper one but I think it’s too sweet and not the same.
Love your recipe! Am making it this weekend. ❤️
Hi Tori- I think I know exactly which Trader Joe's spread you are referring to, I've tried it as well! Thank you for sharing. Happy cooking!
I am sorry I just saw your question. I am not sure what brand it would compare to.
Hi Natalya, can you can these?? If so, how??
Hey Julie, I am not 100% sure. I had never canned those. I usually keep them refrigerated.