Thursday, August 7, 2008

mentaiko/tarako spaghetti

My 1st attempt at making mentaiko spaghetti, and I'm very happy because it turned out better than expected! Actually, upon reflection, I bought tarako (salted pollock roe) so it was tarako spaghetti, not mentaiko (spicy pollock roe). I was a little concerned YH may not like it, as he's not tried it before, and it could be a little fishy I suppose, although how could anyone not like cod roe?! But YH loved it - he was even hoping for seconds, and was really really sad there wasn't any! I'd taken his do-not-cook-too-much-pasta to heart, so we only had one bowl each. Actually the serving portion was just right, and left us looking forward to eating it again soon.

Update: see attempt #2 for a more precise recipe.

Continue reading...

I read about 4-5 different recipes for mentaiko pasta that I found online to get an idea of how to make it, then headed off to the kitchen. I didn't use proper measurements, but just estimated according to the amount of pasta and seasoned to taste. The different recipes I'd read varied as to what to add - so I just sort of picked the items that I thought would work best.

The lemon juice I added at the end was a bit of an inspiration, because the pasta was tasting quite fishy - I needed something sour to cut through the fishiness of the roe, and the vinegar I'd previously added wasn't doing the job (and I didn't want to add too much vinegar as it would overpower the pasta), so I think the lemon juice worked well. In the end, the tastes combined really well and were quite complex. Not too fishy, not too sour, not too salty - just a nice balance of everything, and the roe added a lovely texture to the spaghetti. I'd bought cream in advance, thinking I needed to add it, but I'm glad I didn't, as it was definitely rich enough with the butter and roe. I think cream would have been overkill... I usually use olive oil for pasta instead of butter, but this time, I think it really needed the butter to add to the taste, as it didn't have any garlic/onion in it.

Mentaiko/Tarako Spaghetti

thin spaghetti (for 2 people) (I used Barilla Spaghetti no.5 - which is a thin spaghetti, as opposed to say San Remo Spaghetti no.5 which is much thicker)
2 sacks cod fish roe (mentaiko or tarako)
butter (around 30 - 40g?)
Japanese mayonnaise (I used Kewpie brand)
rice wine vinegar
soy sauce
sea salt
lemon juice
chicken stock powder
shredded nori (seaweed)

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Set aside.
  2. Cut open cod roe sacks, scoop out the cod roe.
  3. Melt butter in pot. Add cod roe, mix.
  4. Over low heat, add spaghetti, mix to coat spaghetti in roe.
  5. Season to taste, according to how much pasta you have. Add bit of mayonnaise, splash of rice wine vinegar, pinch sea salt, dash soy sauce, few squirts of lemon juice, sprinkle of chicken stock powder. Taste. Add more lemon juice, salt if necessary. If the pasta is drying out, add a bit of olive oil and/or water (not too much water, just a splash).
  6. Serve immediately, sprinkled with some shredded nori.


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