mentaiko spaghetti

Fish eggs on spaghetti! As a kid, I would have laughed at the idea. It was not in my mother’s repertoire.
When my brothers went fishing, it was up to them to clean and cook their catch; I always wished they fished more often.
Hard roe, soft roe, shad roe, coral—I didn’t know; caviar in the movies, yes but not in my mouth! 

Ikura, Sujiko, Masago, Tobiko! Kazunoko, Karasumi, Uni! Tarako + Mentaiko!

Mentaiko: spicy roe

☛ Tiny round, salty, spicy and soft against the tongue, mentaiko (明太子) is a staple in Japanese homes. Mentaiko is cod roe marinated in a red chili pepper sauce. Its rich flavor goes well with rice. One can also enjoy it with drinks. Mentaiko are used in rice balls, salad dressings, on gunkan sushi, okonomiyaki, and on pizza. But perhaps one of Japan’s best loved dishes made with this spicy roe is a creamy wafu spaghetti dish most often served at home.

Mentaiko Spaghetti: wafuu supagetti

wafu-spaghetti-8910Some time in the ’70s people began to experiment with Japanese flavors. Essentially, things that are usually eaten with white rice were mixed into or put on top of spaghetti. Until recently, wafuu pasuta or wafuu supagetti was unknown in the West, and not seen on menus of Japanese restaurants frequented by tourists. I read in many blogs that it’s popular in homes and small cafés (kissaten) and as Japanese food has become popular in the U.S. we can now enjoy some very interesting flavor combinations.