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Old 05-02-2018, 06:57 AM   #1
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Japanese Spaghetti

I was in the Korean market the other day, and happened on some salted and spiced cod roe (sometimes pollack roe); mentaiko. It was exactly where I should have expected it to be, right near all the other fresh peppered seafood.

Mentaiko was born in Korea, but migrated to Japan, where the Japanese took it a step further and made it spicy: karashi mentaiko. Alas, as I was in a Korean market, all I could get was the mentaiko, but that’s acceptable.

If you have a Korean market nearby, give a look for it! It’s not really cheap, but it’s not like saffron, or “sashimi grade” ahi tuna. You can use it to garnish foods as you would caviar, although the roe are tiny. It’s great mixed in with cream cheese as a spread or bagel shmear. Oh, and don’t forget to add a spoonful to your scrambled eggs, with a bit of dulse or nori!

Here’s what your looking for. Well, half of what you’re looking for. I ate the other half. Oh, and it does freeze.
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But the very best way to use mentaiko is in Japanese spaghetti. It was always a treat for me when I lived in Osaka. Here’s the simple recipe. The only hard part is actually finding the mentaiko!

1 Tbsp salt for the pasta water
12 oz (350g) spaghetti
1 square shredded nori (sushi seaweed) If you can get shiso, it’s even better! Chop into a chiffonade and sprinkle on the finished dish.
1/4 cup Tarako (cod roe)
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp melted butter
1-2 tsp lemon juice

1. Remove the thin skin of Tarako by making a small cut and pressing or squeezing roe out with a knife or hand
1. In a bowl, add loose Tarako, soy sauce, milk, melted butter, and lemon juice, and mix well.
2. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water. Time according to the pasta package.
3. Add strained hot spaghetti to the sauce and mix.
4. Place spaghetti on a plate and put shredded nori on top.
Serves 4

I really hope you get the chance to try this, it’s a great late night snack!

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Old 05-02-2018, 10:09 AM   #2
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Milk and lemon juice in a sauce?
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
Milk and lemon juice in a sauce?
To be quite honest, the recipe recipe I used was very similar, but it didn’t have lemon juice, the pasta was added to hot butter in the pan with the sauce. I didn’t like it, because the sauce was too gloppy.

So, maybe it’s best to leave the lemon juice out. Didn’t even think of that!
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:20 AM   #4
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Thanks for the recipe. I'm going to have to try this soon.
My version of J-spag is simply furikake over spaghetti.

I didn't know you once lived in Osaka. All my relatives on my mother's side live in Osaka. I've visited Osaka numerous times during my younger years.
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
Thanks for the recipe. I'm going to have to try this soon.
My version of J-spag is simply furikake over spaghetti.

I didn't know you once lived in Osaka. All my relatives on my mother's side live in Osaka. I've visited Osaka numerous times during my younger years.
I lived there for 17 years. I was a dancer. I taught, choreographed, directed, and performed. I did a bit of tv, too, but didn’t ever get famous - guess I wasn’t annoying enough!

I learned to cook in Japan, I was craving bleu cheese dressing and couldn’t find it anywhere. So I went to Kinokuniya (in Umeda station, right under the Hankyu line terminal), got the only cookbook there in English (The Joy Of Cooking), and took off from there.

I miss Osaka. But I got tired of being the gaijin. Little things started to drive me nuts, like when someone would say “Oh, you use chopsticks so well!” like using chopsticks is rocket science. And whenever I’d bring some friends to CA to visit with me, their first words upon disembarking in Tom Bradley terminal was always “there’s gaijin everywhere!” No, hon. YOU’RE the one with that big red passport. YOU’RE the “gaijin” now!

Sadly, the language, in which I was fluent, is falling out my brain a few words and phrases at a time. Not much chance to use it in Las Vegas, save for the stray local sushi chef (who’s usually Korean anyway!)

Very VERY unlikely, but I wonder if your wife’s family and I ever crossed paths.
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:24 PM   #6
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On the subject of spaghetti have you seen episode 8 of The Samurai Gourmet on Netflix?
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