Home-made Awamori spicy tarako for delicious pasta (via GIO)

LY I made my own fish eggs…

It’s really tasty and much less salty than the commercial version. Of course I can’t store it, but why would I ?

Tarako pasta


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Japanese New-Year count down (-7)

Let’s continue our walk to the Japanese New Year meal…
Preparing fish eggs.

Osechi symbolic meaning :

kazu no ko, means “babies in numbers…” , lots of babies, incredible fertility. A natural wish for the next year. Other eggs and fish roe/eggs are eaten as osechi, but this one is said to be the “most fertile” type of fish.

I used a wet kombu seaweed sheet to place them in the lacquer box….

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Home-made Awamori spicy tarako for delicious pasta

This is tarako on pasta. One of my prefered pasta dish. You should really try it.

You can buy salt-cured fish roe mentaiko and tarako. Well, names are interchangeable it seems. Actually tarako should be from cod fish, an mentaiko from pollock. Most times, shops sell the latter. And you have 3 sorts : BAD , GOOD and BETTER. In that order :

The bad is fluo red as it contains a preservative product that would be bad for you. But you can get those and mix them with industrial mayonnaise to obtain that abominable tarama spread to lay generously on buttered/margarined slices of industrial bread. Yep, you’ll get those fluo pink canapes that would make you gag in the parties during the 70’s and gave such a bad rap to Greek cuisine, even if I am pretty sure that nobody Greek or of any other human origine was producing our supermarket’s spread. It came from another galaxy.

The good is without the red evil. And the better is colored by healthy hot chili pepper. Well, they are all very salty and meant to preserve the roe. A bit too salty…

And my fishmonger had eggs of codfish. The authentic tarako. So I got some.

Home-made cured tarako

Cod fish roe that I rinsed, salted and kept 2 days in fridge. When you buy it, it stinks. After curing, it smells. After rinsing and seasoning with alcohol, it smells good. Yeah !

This is an Okinawan condiment made of awamori with Okinawan hot chili peppers. Awamori is a sake made of sticky rice.

I rinsed the salted roe and seasoned with the chili-awamori and a little paprika powder. It’s really tasty and much less salty than the commercial version. Of course I can’t store it, but why would I ?

Tarako pasta

Mentaiko spaghetti, tarako spag’… that’s a popular pasta dish in Japan. So easy to prepare.

Put cured mentaiko/tarako on very hot pasta, with butter…and mix. The pasta will cook the fish roe.
Well… unless you lose precious time taking photos for a blog, but 10 seconds in micro-wave saved the dish.

They often top it with ribbons of nori seaweed. Today I prefered negi leeks and dill.

Steamed veggies, including kakinoki-take (persimmon tree mushrooms). Seasoning was simply black rice vinegar.

Cal 410 F9.5g C63.9g P26.1g

Osechi 1 : kazu no ko

Maybe you have already seen that on your sushi.

“Produce of Alaska” is written on the label. Japan has some, but not enough for everybody in this season, and I don’t think Americans would eat them anyway. They are eggs of Pacific herring.

Osechi symbolic meaning :

kazu no ko, means “babies in numbers…” , lots of babies, incredible fertility. A natural wish for the next year. Other eggs and fish roe/eggs are eaten as osechi, but this one is said to be the “most fertile” type of fish.

Here they are raw and unprepared. They also sell them ready to eat.

Preparation in sake brine :

It’s quite similar to the preparation of ikura (salmon roe/eggs) and other species.

Place the pockets of eggs in salted cold water. After about 20 minutes :

Post-scriptum : It seems the pockets we buy are salted for preservation. So a Japanese reader explained me I need a longer unsalting time. I had to soak the fish in “slightly salted” water, and change the water a few times. The final result would have been less salty.

You can see the white skin. I scraped it away gently with a table knife -the kind that doesn’t cut. Then I rinsed them in fresh water.

My brine was made of 1 cup of sake, 1/4 cup of nama shoyu (soy sauce), and 2 cups of kombu dashi (seaweed broth). I brought it to a boil and poured on the fish.

Kombu dashi seaweed broth : I put a few leaves of dry kombu seaweed in water, brought to a boil and let a few hours.

I’ve let it 12 hours. Then I was disappointed, as that was too salty when I placed them in the box. But the next day, that was better and taste of sake less dominant, more refined. It is salty food anyway. Serve small amounts with less salty item on the side. With this recipe, they can be kept a few days in the fridge.

I used a wet kombu seaweed sheet to place them in the lacquer box.

On the guest plate with other osechi items (my brunch today) :

They are not only served at New Year, but they are less common in other times. They can be a sushi topping. Or separated eggs are mixed to seaweed salad, or to calamari sashimi.

Osechi ryori compilation