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Tinned Fish Mentaiko Pasta - Easy Japanese Recipe

Tinned Fish Mentaiko Pasta - Easy Japanese Recipe

Mentaiko pasta is a delightful fusion of Japanese and Italian flavors, combining the rich and spicy taste of marinated cod roe with the creamy texture of heavy cream. This recipe adds a unique touch with the addition of seaweed as a garnish, enhancing both the visual appeal and the umami flavor profile. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a mouthwatering Mentaiko Pasta with Seaweed Garnish that will surely impress your taste buds.

I used canned mentaiko but fresh will work well too, just mixt it with a heavy cream and add to any kind of pasta.

Optional but very recommended is "nori" Japanese seaweed, pairs very well with mentaiko and pasta. This dish is as easy as making instant coffee!


  • 1 pound (450g) pasta (spaghetti or linguine works well)
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (about 100g) canned Japanese mentaiko (spicy cod roe)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Nori seaweed sheets, for garnish
  • Chopped chives or green onions, for garnish (optional)


  1. Prepare the Pasta:

    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente.
  2. Prepare the Mentaiko Sauce:

    • If your mentaiko is fresh and wish to cook it melt some butter and stir fry it for 2 minutes
  3. Add Heavy Cream:

    • Pour in the heavy cream, stirring continuously to combine it with the mentaiko.
    • If you want  the sauce ticker simmer over low heat, until it thickens slightly. This should take about 5-7 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, you can add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to achieve the desired consistency.
  4. Seasoning:

    • Season the sauce with salt and black pepper to taste. Be mindful of the salt content in the mentaiko, and adjust accordingly.
  5. Combine Pasta and Sauce:

    • Add the cooked and drained pasta directly to the skillet with the mentaiko cream sauce.
    • Toss the pasta gently, ensuring it is well coated with the creamy mentaiko sauce.
  6. Prepare Seaweed Garnish:

    • Toast the nori seaweed sheets lightly over an open flame or in a dry skillet until they become crisp. Be cautious not to burn them.
    • Crumble or cut the toasted nori into small pieces to use as a garnish.
  7. Serve:

    • Plate the Mentaiko Pasta in individual servings.
    • Sprinkle the crumbled nori seaweed on top of each plate for a burst of umami and a visually appealing garnish.
    • Optionally, garnish with chopped chives or green onions for added freshness.
  8. Enjoy:

    • Serve the Creamy Mentaiko Pasta with Seaweed Garnish immediately, allowing your guests to enjoy the dish while it's warm.

This unique fusion dish brings together the bold flavors of Japanese mentaiko and the indulgent creaminess of pasta. The addition of seaweed as a garnish not only adds a pop of color and texture but also introduces an extra layer of umami to the dish. Enjoy the delightful marriage of Japanese and Italian cuisine in every bite!

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