Mentaiko pasta revisited

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One of my favourite foods in the world is mentaiko pasta. It’s a dish I’ve written about previously on more than one occasion. When I first tasted the dish quite a few years ago, at the house of a Japanese friend of mine, finding mentaiko pasta on a restaurant menu was a rarity. There was, back then, only one place in Singapore that I knew of (which was introduced to me not so coincidentally by the same Japanese friend) that made it… and made it really well. In fact, it was my repeated mentaiko pasta indulgences at Kandagawa, the wonderful and relatively unknown restaurant in the rather daggy Hotel Royal, that motivated me to learn how to make it for myself.

Finding a recipe, however, was a bit of a challenge. None of the many Japanese cookbooks my wife S and I owned had one. When I trawled the Internet, I did find a few, but most of them were quite distinct. Eventually, I took a few of the better sounding ones and experimented, coming up with what I believed was my own delicious variation. Friends liked it too, which as you can imagine, pleased me to no end. But, as you might expect from this fat fella, the recipe that I had developed was a tad on the unhealthy side.

These days, mentaiko pasta is slightly in vogue (in Singapore). I see it on menus all the time. And, of course, I order it almost as often as I spy it. Sadly, however, most of the time I have been left disappointed. The only two versions, in fact, that I find exceptional are the ones at Kandagawa and at Macaron. The mentaiko pasta at Macaron is as particularly interesting as it is delicious. Chef Pang makes his with reduced white wine and cream.

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Because I had enjoyed Chef Pang’s mentaiko pasta so much, I decided to try making my own version using white wine and cream. And because I enjoy being overly-indulgent, I topped it with a softboiled (mollet) egg. It was a rich and sumptuous dish. And one I’m definitely going to be using for future dinner parties.

Kandagawa
36 Newton Rd. #03-01 Hotel Royal
Singapore
Tel: +65 6256 9587

Macaron
11 Unity Street, Robertson Walk
Singapore
Tel: +65 6235 7277

An updated Mentaiko pasta
Serves 4

150g angelhair pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons of dry white wine
4 tablespoons chicken jus (or reduced stock)
1 teaspoon Japanese mayonnaise
1/4 cup thickened cream
3 sacs of mentaiko
4 eggs
nori

Softboil 4 eggs (directions below) so that the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Peel them and set them aside.

Carefully cut open the mentaiko sacs and scrape the roe into a large mixing bowl.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly, stirring, for a few minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the white wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half. Then add the chicken jus (which you can create by reducing some chicken stock until it is thick and a tad syrupy). Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then turn the heat off. Add the cream and stir it into the onion sauce vigorously. Then add this to the mentaiko and mix everything together. Add a small handful of shredded nori into the mentaiko sauce.

Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain it and add it to the mentaiko sauce, mixing well to ensure that all of the pasta is coated evenly in the sauce.

Plate the pasta. Place a softboiled egg on top of each portion and sprinkle a bit of nori over it. Serve.

Mollet Eggs
4 eggs (at room temperature)

Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with tap water and set over a medium flame. Remove them 3 minutes after the water starts to simmer (if the water starts to boil, reduce the heat). Once they are done, remove the eggs and place them in a bowl filled with ice and water. Stand for 10 minutes before peeling them.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his two kids!

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19 Comments

  1. Steamy Kitchen 25 June 2007

    Mentaiko Pasta is my favorite too! I think I use a lot more butter ;-P I also top it with home made Matcha Finishing Salt to add a vibrant green color and wonderful flavor.

  2. didally 25 June 2007

    Wow, I was just thinking of Mentaiko Pasta! Got a pleasant surprise when I come to your blog seeing this post.

    I’ve yet to tried your recipe as I am still a novice cook, I might just ruined the mentaiko.

  3. Lisa (Homesick Texan) 26 June 2007

    I sadly have never tried mentaiko pasta, but I need to remedy that now–and who cares if it’s not super-duper healthy. It sounds so rich and divine! A real taste of the sea!

  4. Jim 26 June 2007

    Mentaiko is roe, right? I never did get into that stuff, but your pics make it look REALLY good…if I’m new to roe, would this be a good dish to start with?

  5. Chubby Hubby 26 June 2007

    Jim: It’s spicy cod roe. It has a really light spiciness and is very savory. Also good mixed with a bit of Japanese mayo, spread on seafood and grilled.

  6. Weylin 26 June 2007

    Hi A, S,

    Help? You wouldn’t know where in Spore I could get Biscuits Roses de Reims would you? Thanks,

    W/

  7. Steamy Kitchen 26 June 2007

    Chubby Hubby- How did the Japanese come up with this dish? Every time I’ve had it, its been made with Italian-style spaghetti, not the traditional soba or other Japanese noodles… was this a dish created more recently. Curious about its origins.

  8. joey 27 June 2007

    This is the first time I come across Mentaiko pasta…It sounds fantastic! I am going to be saving this recipe, thank you! I live by a number of Japanese groceries so I’m sure I can find that roe 🙂

    Was also wondering the same thing as Steamy Kitchen above…

  9. shidababe 27 June 2007

    Hey! Shi here 🙂 sitting here in a long meeting in helsinki and this post just made me lose my appetite at all the herring and salmon around me. i want to eat mentaiko pasta 🙁

  10. Anna 28 June 2007

    Weylin,

    you can get biscuit roses de reim here:
    http://www.cybercucina.com/ccdocs/products/FO635B.html

  11. susan 28 June 2007

    i had no idea what mentaiko pasta was but after looking it up, mentaiko is pollock roe! koreans love pollock roe. the pasta sounds great!

  12. kathlyn 19 July 2007

    hey there! had a urge to try to make spaghetti and i found your blog. =)
    it really looks delicious!!!! =D

    anyway, where do you get mentaiko from? and angelhair pasta. sorry! it’s my first time trying to make it. heh.

    would like to have your opinion to which recipee i should try. ur older mentaiko recipee or this one.

    thanks so much!!

  13. Chubby Hubby 19 July 2007

    In Singapore, I buy mentaiko at Meidiya, a Japanese supermarket. If you can find a Japanese market near you, you should be able to find it. It’s usually sold with the sushi/fresh fish. I like both recipes but am currently more partial to the second one.

  14. Andy 22 August 2007

    Got myself some mentaiko from the Hokkaido fair downstairs. Hard to find those kind of ingredients here in KL, unlike in Singapore where I was spoiled. I used to live in Tokyo for a while and my first intro to this fusion (don’t think it’s qualified as washoku) cuisine is at the restaurant beside my apartment ~ uni pasta. I found a recipe for it after that and made tried it out on my own. It was bloody good.

    Will test out this recipe with some variation later tonight. Wish me luck.. ^^

  15. Cheesie 27 May 2009

    Omg i love Mentaiko so much!! Thank you for this, gonna cook some now. 🙂

  16. carine 22 November 2009

    Hi! Thanks for the fantastic post! I was wondering if this is the wafuu cream pasta recipe that I’ve been searching for ages and if i can substitute mentaiko with other ingredients that are more easily available cos I’m currently on an overseas posting right now but I really really love the wafuu pasta I ate at marina square (this place that sells jap pasta. sighs, but dunno if its still there now..)! Anyway! If its alright with you, would you mind replying me via email please? Thank you!!!

  17. carine 25 November 2009

    Hi! I tried this recipe but I substituted some stuff as its difficult to get certain ingredients despite my best efforts due to the area where I’m staying. Instead of mentaiko, I used 1 tsp fish stock and for the chicken jus, what I did was use about 1 tsp of concentrated chicken stock. In addition, thickened cream was substituted with milk of the same volume. The taste wasn’t up to standards at all and I was wondering if you might know what adjustments I should make.
    Please, let me know! Thank you very very much!!

  18. Niel 20 June 2011

    I beleive that the soft boiled egg is a nice touch to a great pasta. I’ve tried eating some Korean versions with soft boiled eggs and found it added to the overall taste.

  19. Piero Gualandrini 30 January 2015

    Thank you so much.It is delicious.
    Do you happen to know a company making Mentaiko I can buy it from?
    I would love to import it for my trattoria…….
    Thank you
    Ciao

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