Karashi Mentaiko Onigiri (Spicy Cod Roe Rice Ball)

Posted by on April 27, 2010 in Blog, Fish & Seafood, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Rice & Sushi | 1 comment

Karashi Mentaiko is one of those foods that I refused to eat as a child.  Why?  You guessed it – It’s because of the way it looks.  It’s not pretty.

It wasn’t until some time post-college when my Auntie Tree Village (our closest family friends) went back to her hometown in Kyushu, Japan and brought back fresh frozen mentaiko for our family.

After some encouragement from my mom, I tried a bite, and it was so delicious… salty, spicy, caviar that practically melts in your mouth.  Given my love for caviar, I should have known that I would love mentaiko too.

Now, whenever my Auntie goes back to Kyushu I look forward to eating the freshest, saltiest, spiciest and tastiest mentaiko upon her return.

In between her trips to Japan, I satisfy my mentaiko cravings by splurging on a $14.00 box of Kanefuku Karashi Mentaiko from the Japanese supermarket.

 

My mom got me hooked on Kanefuku.  She claims it’s the best mentaiko available at the asian supermarkets.  I think she’s absolutely right.  It goes on sale periodically, and if my mom happens to see it on sale she’ll call to let me know.

The packaging doesn’t have any English on the front but the design of the box is distinct and pretty easy to spot in the seafood / sashimi section of the Japanese markets if any of you would like to try this.  Bebe dada won’t touch this stuff with a 10-foot pole…  which is perfect…  because I get to eat all 4 pieces that come in the box…  ALL by myself.

Once I get the box of Kanefuku home, I usually eat one piece, and then individually wrap the remaining 3 pieces of mentaiko in plastic wrap, and then place them in a ziplock bag and freeze them.  They’ll keep in the freezer for 3 months, unless you FoodSave them, in which case they’ll last up to 5 -6 months.

You’ll often find karashi mentaiko spaghetti on the menu at Japanese pasta restaurants such as Spoon House in Torrance, CA or evenCurry House but this doesn’t do justice to karashi mentaiko.  It’s best to eat it as is, sashimi style – straight.  I’m often guilty of eating it with a REALLY small bowl of rice.  My mom calls my mentaiko-style-of-eating, “zeitaku“, an extravagance.

While I could share a karashi mentaiko spaghetti recipe with you (it’s fairly simple to make), I’m afraid I would be going against my caviar purist values.  The best I can do is offer karashi mentaiko brown rice onigiri (rice ball).  Mom, you’d be proud because I made this onigiri with LOTS of brown rice.  Not being zeitaku here!

Karashi Mentaiko Onigiri (Spicy Cod Roe Rice Ball)

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 piece of karashi mentaiko (spicy cod roe)
  • 1-2 pieces of aji nori (seasoned seaweed)

Any time that I work with rice, I always use plastic wrap.  It prevents the rice from sticking everywhere and making a mess.

Take a piece of plastic wrap, place 1 cup of cooked brown rice on the palm of your hand.  You don’t really need to flatten the rice.  Just spread it out a bit.

Take the 1/2 piece of karashi mentaiko and place it in the center of the rice.  Fold over the rice to cover the mentaiko, making a ball.

Now, the trick is to make a triangular rice ball by clasping your hands, right over left.  The right hand forms a “mountain” shape while the left hand squeezes gently closed.  Rotate the rice ball counter-clockwise and squeeze gently.  Repeat this motion about 2 – 3 times.

Wrap with aji nori (seaweed), and enjoy!

Itadakimasu,

Judy | bebe mama

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Karashi Mentaiko Onigiri (Spicy Cod Roe Rice Ball)
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Snack
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ piece of karashi mentaiko (spicy cod roe)
  • 1-2 pieces of aji nori (seasoned seaweed)
Instructions
  1. Take a piece of plastic wrap, place 1 cup of cooked brown rice on the palm of your hand.  You don't really need to flatten the rice.  Just spread it out a bit. TIP: Any time that I work with rice, I always use plastic wrap.  It prevents the rice from sticking everywhere and making a mess.
  2. Take the ½ piece of karashi mentaiko and place it in the center of the rice.
  3. Fold over the rice to cover the mentaiko, making a ball.
  4. Now, the trick is to make a triangular rice ball by clasping your hands, right over left.  The right hand forms a "mountain" shape while the left hand squeezes gently closed.  Rotate the rice ball counter-clockwise and squeeze gently.  Repeat this motion about 2 - 3 times.
  5. Wrap with aji nori (seaweed).

1 Comment

  1. avatar

    Wow! I have just bought a few packets of this. I normally make a spaghetti dish with Karashi Mentaiko but today I am going to eat it with rice and seasoned seaweed. Thanks for the idea!

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