Creamy Mentaiko Udon Pasta
The first time I ever tried salted cod roe was at Onigilly in the form of an onigiri (Japanese rice ball). It was a bit of an acquired taste at first, but after more bites in, I was in love. I love salt, and this was pure salty perfection.
Eventually, I learned that marinated cod roe (oftentimes referred to as mentaiko or tarako) is not uncommon to eat with rice or noodles. A friend of mine insisted that I try to make a creamy udon with mentaiko. I was able to find mentaiko at a 99 Ranch grocery store near me, and repurposed a recipe I had for Creamy Uni Udon Pasta.
Without tooting my own horn too much, this is probably one of the best things I've ever made! Granted, my bias is that I love anything tossed in udon. This recipe is super quick, unique, and just so delicious!
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
2 servings udon (frozen or fresh)
1.5 - 2 oz mentaiko (depends on your preference of fishiness)
4 tbsp dashi
Note: If you do not have this readily made, you can omit but it may not have the same umami as with it. Example of an easy dashi recipe can be found here from JustOneCookbook.com.
1/4 cup heavy cream (or milk)
1 tbsp Kewpie mayo (Japanese mayo)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 onion (minced)
1 tbsp cooking sake
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Nori (shredded, for garnish)
Sesame seeds (for garnish)
Green onions (chopped, for garnish)
In a pot, boil water and add in udon. If fresh, cook for about 1-3 minutes until softened. If frozen, cook for about 2-4 minutes until softened (or follow instructions on packaging). Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together mentaiko, dashi, heavy cream (or milk), Kewpie mayo, and soy sauce. Set aside.
In a large pan, melt butter on medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until fragrant. Add sake. Once it's done sizzling and liquid starts to evaporate, lower heat to low.
Add udon then the mentaiko mixture, then Parmesan cheese. Toss evenly together.
Turn off stove. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer creamy mentaiko udon pasta to serving plate. Add shredded nori, sesame seeds, and green onions as garnish. Serve warm.