Monday, September 22, 2008

Mentaiko Spaghetti #2

mentaiko spaghetti

The Ode to Hokkaido Weekend concluded on Sunday night with my 2nd attempt at Mentaiko Spaghetti - a Japanese-style fusion pasta. (Ok, so this dish is not really Hokkaido-specific, but it still fits my Japanese food theme...)

I actually measured out the ingredients this time, so I could write up a proper recipe. I'd written out rough instructions before, but I'm trying to be a little more exact, so here's a proper recipe for Mentaiko (or tarako) spaghetti (Mentaiko is marinated pollock roe, and Tarako is salted roe, usually from pollock):

Mentaiko/Tarako Spaghetti
(Serves 2)

250g thin spaghetti
130g (or 2 sacks) Alaskan or walleye pollock (cod fish) roe
20g butter
2 tsp light olive oil
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Japanese mayonnaise (I use Kewpie brand)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
chilli oil (optional)
shredded nori (seaweed)

roe sacksHere's what the roe looks like in its sacks.

1. Gently slice open the cod roe sacks and scoop out the cod roe. I slit open one end and use the back of a spoon to squeeze the roe out of the sack (as if you are squeezing out the filling from a sausage).

scooped roe
Here's the squeezed out roe (on top) and the empty membrane sacks (bottom).

2. Cook the spaghetti according to the timing on the packet instructions, less 1 minute. Drain, then pour back into the pot. 

3. Add the butter, and melt it using the heat from the spaghetti. Add the light olive oil (or other oil) and mix to coat the spaghetti. I add a mix of butter and oil, so it is slightly healthier, but if you like, you can just add more butter and no oil. 

4. Add the cod roe and mix. If your spaghetti is getting cold, you can do this on low heat.

5. Add the mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, then a dash of salt and pepper. If you like your pasta spicy, sprinkle in a few drops of chilli oil. 

6. Mix well together, then taste. Add more seasoning if necessary.

7. Serve immediately, sprinkled with some shredded nori (seaweed).

Tip: If the pasta is drying out, add a bit of olive oil and/or water (not too much water, just a splash).

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