Roe, roe, roe my boat

27 Aug

Everybody is show their love by enjoy eating

Roe of fish is taste great!

If you’ve been following this blog from the beginning, you may have noticed my slight obsession with fish roe, particulary mentaiko, the hyped-up, spiced-up version or tarako (haddock roe).

Mentaiko are only one of the many types of egg-straordinarily delicious occidental pre-embryonic delights. But even more than ikura (salmon roe that provide a little squirt of juiciness that is to die for) and tobiko (flying fish roe that adorn the outside of many an inside-out roll), my heart belongs to mentaiko. (By the by, if you’re in the Lower Mainland, the sockeye are running this weekend, so get out there and buy some local fish and fish roe! I dunno about you, but by Monday, I hope to be buried in a mound of ikura and have to eat my way out.)

Nothing really can beat the adaptability of mentaiko to a variety of cuisines. Salty, spicy, and with that little bit of “pop!” that roe so satisfyingly gives in your mouth, it’s well worth overlooking its’ veiny and rather off-putting appearance. Available in Vancouver at the Korean supermarket H-Mart, and at Vancouver’s largest Japanese food store, Fujiya, this salty treat just needs to defrost before use. Use it sparingly – just one egg sac will deliver enough salt, spice, and texture for 3 – 4 people, depending on how it’s used in the dish.

If you haven’t tasted it before, and aren’t sure if you want to invest in buying a whole box before you know you like it, give it a try in the yaki-udon at Vancouver izakaya chain Zakkushi.

Ready to give it a try? Here are some suggested uses. And relax – it’s SUPER easy to use, and absolutely tasty.

Recipe 1: The Basic Mentaiko – Mentaiko on Rice

They say that simple is best, and if you really like mentaiko like I do, all you need is the accompaniment of a bowl of white rice.

Mentaiko on Rice

Mentaiko on Rice

How to make Mentaiko on Rice

  1. Defrost one egg sac of mentaiko overnight in the fridge.
  2. Cut the egg sac into 4 pieces and place one on each bowl of hot white rice (or a mixture of half brown, half white rice). If you are averse to eating the casing (it’s very thin, but some people might find it hard to take, looks-wise) slice open the sac and spoon about a quarter of the eggs into a small pile on your rice. Enjoy!

Recipe 2: Mentaiko on toast

Another example of mentaiko matched with a favourite carb, the Japanese enjoy eating it on a french baguette (you’ll find mentaiko furansu-pan at most Japanese bakeries)

Mentaiko toast

Mentaiko toast on the far right

How to make Mentaiko on Toast:

  1. Generously butter and then spread mentaiko on either sliced bread or on a halved small French baguette.
  2. Grill in the oven or toaster oven until bread is crusty and mentaiko has cooked through (it will change colour to a light pink when cooked). Enjoy!

Recipe 3: Wa-fu (Wa-hooo!) Mentaiko Pasta

“Wa-hooo!” for wa-fu (literally “Japanese style”) pasta – a treat that takes the best of both Italian and Japanese cuisines and comes up with something out of this world. There are a whole schwack of wa-fu pasta recipes out there, but mentaiko is a perennial favourite.

Mentaiko Pasta

Mentaiko Pasta

How to make Wahoo! Mentaiko Pasta

  1. Defrost the one to two sacs of mentaiko overnight in the fridge. Once fully defrosted…
  2. Boil spaghetti  for 4 in plenty of water. Once cooked al-dente, drain the spaghetti and set aside.
  3. In a frying pan over medium heat, add about 2 Tbsp. butter or oil, the mentaiko, spaghetti, and about 1 Tbsp soy sauce and 3 – 4 Tbsp Japanese mayo, tossing and adjusting soy sauce and mayo to taste.
  4. Serve hot, garnished with sliced shiso herb or shredded dried nori.

Want more details? Go HERE for the full recipe.

Come on, let’s roe our boats together for salty MENtaiko!


3 Responses to “Roe, roe, roe my boat”

  1. Kelly November 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Where can you find affordable ikura in van?

    • letsforking November 3, 2012 at 1:42 am #

      I always start my looking at Fujiya. Ikura is always expensive, so don’t expect that it will ever be cheap. If you’re really looking to find super cheap ikura, it’s best to head out fishing and hope you catch a female salmon! But the processing you have to do with the ikura takes time and other ingredients, so I’d just head to Fujiya for the simplest solution to your ikura needs.


  1. Tempting Tarako « Let's Forking! - September 10, 2010

    […] roe) in 4 posts, including three recipes using the ingredient: Wafu (wahoo!) Mentaiko Pasta, Mentaiko on Rice and Mentaiko on Toast.   But I’m pleased to say that even my pleasure of the pelagic egg has been out-done by this […]

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