Tarako noodles are one of the favorite noodles of the Japanese. Tarako, salted hake caviar, is a common seafood product found in the fish section of every grocery store in Japan.
This is my favorite pasta for a quick and easy dinner. Because it’s ready in 10 minutes and only needs 5 ingredients: Tarako, butter, light cream, soy sauce and spaghetti noodles.
My family also loves pasta so much that it’s on the table earlier than usual.
What is Tarako?
There are two types of salted hake caviar.
- Tarako (たらこ): marinated with salt.
- Mentaiko (明太子): pickled with salt and chili powder.
The only difference between them is whether they are sharp or not. So if you want to make this pasta spicy, choose mentaiko for this recipe.
While they don’t differ much apart from spiciness, Mentaiko has a bigger advantage than Taraco in terms of brand marketing. There are well-known mentaiko companies, such as Kanefuku and Fukusaya, that sell good quality mentaiko at a higher price. Your mentaiko is a popular souvenir in Fukuoka. In my opinion, the more expensive Mentaiko is relatively mild and less salty.
In Taraco, I bought this for about $3 at my regular grocery store. It is dyed red, but don’t worry, there is also natural, unpainted tarako. We usually eat them as a side dish with rice.
Tips for a successful Taraco Pasta
First tip: The amount of salt varies from tarako to tarako. Therefore, it is best to add a little soy sauce first and adjust the flavor later by adding more soy sauce if necessary. In my recipe, the amount of soy sauce is already moderate.
Tip 2: Quickly stir the sauce into the spaghetti and cooked pasta. Because the creamy sauce thickens as it heats up. The ideal time to remove the sauce from the heat is when it is just beginning to thicken.
I think the most common topping for taraco noodles are dried seaweed and shiso leaves. This Japanese herb has a distinctly meaty and spicy flavor that goes well with a creamy sauce. But my kids don’t like the taste. Therefore, my alternative choice is sliced shallots. You can change the flavor in the middle of your work. With a squeeze of lemon, the pasta is so refreshing and delicious.
Japanese tarako noodles with cream
Serve it up: 2
- 60 g (3 1/2 tablespoons) Tarako/Mentaiko without skin
- 2 tablespoons of drizzled butter / olive oil
- 3/4 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 200 ml heavy sodas / one sodas containing approx. 36% fat
For the preparation of noodles
- 180 g (6 1/3 oz) spaghetti pasta
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2 l (8 cups) water
- Cut the tarako in half and press the caviar with the back of a spoon to remove the thin skin. Then prepare 60 g (3 1/2 tablespoons) of tarako according to the recipe.
- Pour the water into a large saucepan, add the salt and bring to the boil.
Preparation of tarao dough
- Cook the spaghetti pasta according to the instructions on the package.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pasta. Put the tarako, butter, soy sauce and cream in a large saucepan. Then stir gently without heating.
- Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and stir over medium heat. Taste and add a little soy sauce if necessary.
- Remove from heat when sauce begins to thicken. Then serve the pasta immediately with the topping of your choice.
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