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Mentaiko Udon (Spicy Cod Roe Udon) 明太子パスタ風うどん

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  • Mentaiko Udon topped with shiso and nori in a white dish.

    If you like classic Mentaiko Pasta (Spicy Cod Roe Pasta), you have to try this udon noodle version, Mentaiko Udon!

    Mentaiko Udon topped with shiso and nori in a white dish.

    Let me step back and explain about Mentaiko Pasta in case you are not familiar with this Japanese-Italian fusion pasta.

    Mentaiko Pasta is spaghetti tossed with mentaiko, butter and cream. I learned that it’s actually pretty popular in some Asian countries but otherwise, either you will have to find a modern Japanese restaurant or you have to fly to Japan to taste this pasta. In short words, it’s not so common served in typical Japanese restaurants around the world.

    Mentaiko (明太子) is chili-spiced salted roe of pollack or cod and it is usually used as a filling for Onigiri (rice ball). You can find mentaiko in either refrigerated or frozen section of Japanese supermarkets.

    I did not use colored mentaiko because I want to avoid artificial coloring; therefore, my mentaiko pasta looks less pink/orange. Also, the spicy level of mentaiko varies depends on mentaiko brand so adjust the spiciness with shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7-flavor chili pepper) based on your preference.

    If you like calamari, I highly recommend to add it as it gives additional complexities to the dish with different texture and flavor.

    You might wonder if you can skip Japanese mayonnaise (a common brand is Kewpie Mayonnaise); however, I really think this is another must have ingredient. I know some of you might have a hard time finding Japanese mayonnaise, but try finding it at a Chinese/Asian markets. They usually carry Japanese mayonnaise (at least around where I live).

    I hope you will enjoy this quick and delicious meal! It only requires 15 minutes of preparation time! If you prefer classic Mentaiko Pasta (明太子パスタ), here’s the recipe.

    Mentaiko Udon in a bowl.

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    4.1 from 10 votes
    Mentaiko Pasta | Easy Japanese Recipes at
    Mentaiko Udon (Spicy Cod Roe Udon)
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    20 mins

    If you like classic Mentaiko Pasta (Spicy Cod Roe Pasta), you have to try this udon noodle version, Mentaiko Udon!

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: mentaiko pasta, udon noodle
    Servings: 2
    Author: Nami
    1. Gather all the ingredients. Bring a large pot of water to boil for udon noodles. Dry udon noodles take a long time to cook so start cooking early (while my frozen udon noodles just need 1 minute to cook).

      Mentaiko Pasta Ingredients
    2. Make a slit through each sac membrane of the mentaiko lengthwise and scrape out the spicy roe with knife (or spoon). Discard the sac membrane.
      Mentaiko Pasta 1
    3. In a large bowl combine mentaiko and Japanese mayonnaise.

      Mentaiko Pasta 2
    4. Add heavy cream and soy sauce.
      Mentaiko Pasta 3
    5. Meanwhile, finely dice the onion.

      Mentaiko Pasta 5
    6. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onion.
      Mentaiko Pasta 6
    7. When the onion is soft, add the squid and cook until it changes color.
      Mentaiko Pasta 7
    8. Add the sake and sauté until alcohol is evaporated.
      Mentaiko Pasta 8
    9. Add the onion and squid mixture into the mentaiko sauce. Mix well.
      Mentaiko Pasta 9
    10. Cook the frozen udon noodles (my favorite is the frozen Sanuki Udon) in boiling water for 1 minute (no need to defrost). If you use dry noodles, follow the package instructions. Once done cooking, drain well.

      Mentaiko Pasta 4
    11. Add cooked udon and toss well until the udon is evenly coated with the sauce. Adjust the taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
      Mentaiko Pasta 10
    12. Julienne shiso leaves and garnish the pasta with nori and shiso leaves.
      Mentaiko Pasta 11
    13. Sprinkle shichimi togarashi if you like it to be spicy.
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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