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Mentaiko Pasta

First posted in 2011, updated in Mar 2015.

Mentaiko is marinated pollock roe and a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Using it to make mentaiko pasta (明太子パスタ) is my favourite way to enjoy this ingredient. This Italian-Japanese pasta is usually quite expensive on the menu, but easily less than half the price and more than double the roe, to make at home.

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Mentaiko Pasta Sauce Recipe

As gourmet as this pasta may sound and look, it is actual the simplest pasta recipe out there! The sauce does not require stove-top cooking and took me 5 minutes. The only real cooking I did was to cook the pasta (spaghetti).

Mentaiko Pasta Sauce Recipe

To make the 5-minute sauce, I basically melted butter in the microwave, then whisked in the other ingredients in a small bowl.

Karashi Mentaiko (辛子明太子)

There are two main types of spicy ‘karashi’ mentaiko (辛子明太子) you can find at the local Japanese supermarkets. The colourless type will result in a colourless pasta with visible bits of roe in it. On the other hand, the coloured type (featured in this recipe; pictured above), will result in a slight salmon pink pasta sauce.  Click here to read more information about mentaiko.

Mentaiko Pasta Recipe

52 comments on “Mentaiko Pasta”

  1. Very intriguing and I’m curious to try this with some of the roe I see at my local asian market. These quick pasta dishes are the best, thanks!

  2. This is a very interesting pasta recipe. Those mentaiko look like chicken breast….

  3. The pasta looks simple and delicious. the mentaiko is new to me. Looks cute :P Love the pasta paste.

  4. Me too! I’m not a fan of creamy pasta as well- a little too heavy for my liking. I love how you make the sauce yourself..and this is the first time I am seeing this roe!!

  5. Oh Wiffy, Someone gave a a box of this roe, only put on grill. Thanks for sharing this recipe.. am sure my family will love it.

  6. Mentaiko is new to me too. Looks so delicious, and most importantly, it’s simple to make.

  7. Am also not a fan of creamy pasta…I know I can get mentaiko here, just need to make an effort to look out of it.

  8. Beautiful looking dish! I love your garnish of seaweed strips on top and your overall presentation. :)

  9. Hi there, may I know where you bought your mentaiko? Is it available all year round?
    I recently visited the Hokkaido fair at Scotts and they sell $19/100gm (that’s only about 1 sac). I must say it’s pretty pricey.. Not sure if they will sell even after the fair is over.

    • Hi Jes, I got mine from Isetan Scotts – not the fair, it’s inside the supermarket, the place where they sell sashimi. 4 sacs for S$12.90 and available all year round. Yes quite expensive ingredient, but 2 sacs can cook for 2 persons, still cheaper than ordering it outside ;)

  10. This Italian-Japanese pasta dish is very special. It’s time for a change to taste something special like this. Great sharing. Thanks.

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