Grilled as you like it

Spaghetti with Mentaiko Cream Sauce April 19, 2010

Filed under: Cooking,Japan,recipes — laurel @ 10:14 pm
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spaghetti with mentaiko cream sauce and squid at Mashimo

First of all, I’ll be honest, that’s not a picture of my spaghetti with mentaiko cream sauce. I was hungry, and my spaghetti wasn’t about to sit around and wait until I took it’s picture, so I ate it. But it was so good that I thought I should share the recipe, so here’s a picture of spaghetti with mentaiko cream sauce at Mashimo restaurant. (theirs also looks a bit prettier than mine)

My local grocery store, Apita, had a big Kyushu food festival over the weekend, which meant there were lots of vendors with famous products from Kyushu like black sugar, sweet potato desserts, tonkotsu ramen, mugi miso, and mentaiko. Mentaiko are pollock or cod eggs that are marinated with chiles, and a famous product of Fukuoka City in Kyushu. The mentaiko looked pretty good, and I had regretted not buying some when I was in Kyushu last fall, so I decided to make spaghetti with mentaiko cream sauce for dinner. These were salty, savory, and spicy, but not too spicy.

I noticed a jar of capers in the pantry when I was getting out the spaghetti and thought that the salty flavor of capers would go well with the mentaiko so I chopped up a spoonful of those and added them too. It wasn’t until after I had put the mentaiko into the hot oil that I realized that I should have removed the eggs from the membranes first. Oops. (RECIPE UPDATE: I made this again and decided that it is much better to stir the mentaiko in just before serving so that they stay raw. They are less tough and more flavorful this way.) After letting the eggs and capers cook for a few seconds in a mix of olive oil and butter, I added some milk and cream and simmered in briefly to make a sauce. Finally I stirred in the pasta and some chopped parsley and it was ready to eat. Simple and delicious!

Spaghetti with Mentaiko Cream Sauce (UPDATED RECIPE!)
by Laurel Swift

100 grams mentaiko
1 clove garlic, grated on microplane or oroshi-ki
1 teaspoon salt-packed capers, rinsed and chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk and cream, mixed to your taste
200 grams spaghetti
chopped fresh parsley

Heat a large pot salted of water to a boil.

Remove mentaiko eggs from the membrane. Soak the membranes in the milk and cream that you’ll use for the sauce to save any remaining flavorful goodness. Discard the membranes.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan or pot (A wide-bottomed pot with high sides is actually good here because the mentaiko have a tendency to pop and jump when the hit the hot oil). Add the garlic and capers and brown for about 30 seconds. Add the milk and cream. Simmer for a minute or two until slightly thickened. Turn off heat until the pasta is ready.

While you’re cooking the sauce, add the spaghetti to the pot. Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan of sauce and gently cook in the sauce for about a minute. Add some of the reserved pasta water or some milk if the sauce isn’t liquid enough. Just before serving add the mentaiko and stir until they are evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve.


Yamamoto Manbo Okonomiyaki March 18, 2010

Filed under: Eating,Japan,Travel — laurel @ 10:51 pm
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As you can tell from the title of my blog, I love okonomiyaki. For our last meal in Kyoto, we headed to lunch at Yamamoto Manbo Okonomiyaki, another find from Meet’s Regional’s Best Guide of Kyoto. Yamamoto Manbo is a narrow shop with counter seats arranged around a blazing hot griddle. The master cooks up layered okonomiyaki wih udon or soba noodles and topped with sliced onions and a raw egg. The master asked if we wanted regular or spicy sauce. Usually “spicy” sauce isn’t spicy so much as more flavorful, so we both ordered the spicy sauce. Oops. It really was spicy here, so I had quite a time finishing mine. Next time I’ll have to go for the regular.

As we sat at the counter by the griddle, sweltering from the Kansai summer heat and the sizzling griddle, the master chatted with us about where we were visiting from. When we said Maebashi, he said to us, “Oh, Gunma, it’s always very hot there, isn’t it?”


Golden Week’s last stop October 2, 2009

Filed under: Eating,Travel — laurel @ 10:32 pm
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chili crab

On the last day of our Golden Week adventure we had a long stopover in Singapore on our way back to Japan. We checked our bags for our next flight and then headed out for some delicious dinner at Jumbo Seafood on the East Coast. Mmm…. it was so good. We had pretty much the same things that we’d had there on our previous trip, since we had such good memories of it and we couldn’t decide whether we preferred chili crab or black pepper crab. Both are fantastic. Along with our spicy sauced crabs we also ordered deep-fried man-tou buns (like tasty doughnuts for sopping up the chili sauce), bamboo clams, and lime juice. We dug in as soon as the chili crab arrived. As you can see it’s plenty messy so it would have been impossible to get a picture of the black pepper crab by the time it showed up.

Wouldn’t you know it, I just learned today that they even have two Tokyo locations. I don’t know what their prices are like, but it might be worth a try (It must certainly be cheaper than a ticket to Singapore).

So finally, here is the wrap-up of our Golden Week adventure:

Bali: Dinner at Mozaic

Bali: A day at the market and cooking class




Alex’s Photoblog: Singapore

Alex’s Photoblog: Java

Alex’s Photoblog: Bali