March 28, 2013

Japanify: Mentaiko Rice Redux

by yoko

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Forgive me, I am going to cheat a little here… like that “100 Episodes of Seinfeld” episode. I think Umami Mart has been around long enough for something like that. So this is a re-post/interpretation of another post I wrote in Tokyo 4 years ago.

The other day I got a tray of mentaiko (spicy cod roe) from my mom and all week Washi and I were dreaming of making the mentaiko rice recipe. But we decided to make this on a Sunday, which meant that the nearby Japanese market was not open. Washi was in a panic about where to get proper shou bannou negi (“small Japanese leeks” or green onions). Small/young Japanese green onions tend to be thinner and longer than the green onions we find here. So I came up with the idea of switching out the negi for chives.

Et viola! The dish is instantly Japanified. Chives are more potent than bannou negi, but have a very similar texture and were a great accompaniment to the spicy cod and drizzle of sesame oil. Since we had cooked rice in the fridge already, dinner took about five minutes to make.

INGREDIENTS
One serving

1 mentaiko sack
1 tbsp of chopped chives
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 generous serving of cooked short grain white rice

METHOD

1. Gather ingredients.

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Generally speaking, the paler the mentaiko is in color, the better — this means less food coloring. The brand Kanefuku is highly regarded and you can find it at the Japanese market.

2. Pile hot rice into a donburi (bowl).

3. Place mentaiko sack on top of rice, then sprinkle the chives and drizzle the oil.

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4. Dinner is served.

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I had forgotten about this amazingly delicious and simple dish since leaving Tokyo. Sometimes our memories need to be refreshed and with the new option of substituting chives, you’ll see me in the freezer aisle of my local Japanese market stocking up on mentaiko.

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