What do you do when you have excessive amounts of homemade kimchi in the fridge? Make mentaiko kimchi udon, of course!
Mentaiko kimchi udon is one of my favourite noodle dishes ever. I know I’ve said before that I don’t really love kimchi, so it’s kind of strange that one of my favourite noodle dishes contains it, but before I learned to love that strange, spicy, pickled flavour, I would just pick the kimchi out and eat the udon. Oh, and what an udon it is! I first had this dish at Zakkushi, a Japanese charcoal grill restaurant. One bite of those springy, chewy, wheat-flour noodles tossed with spicy roe and kimchi and I was hooked. I can eat plates and plates of this stuff. So with an abundance of happy fermented kimchi in the fridge, I decided to do just that: eat plates and plates of the stuff.
I love all kinds of noodles, but udon holds a special place in my heart. I’ve always enjoyed thicker noodles, mostly for the chewy bite they have. There’s a world of difference within the varieties of packaged udon you buy at the supermarket, so I say, find the kind you like and stick with it. For me, that brand is frozen Maruchan Kame Age Udon. I find frozen udon much more superior than the udon you buy refrigerated or vacuum packed. The noodles taste fresher, are more slick and chewy and have a slight rectangular quality. They taste great just in a plain broth, or even better as mentaiko kimchi udon.
Mentaiko is known as Japanese spicy cod roe, but really it’s pollock roe. It’s marinated in salt and red pepper and has a rich, creamy flavour and a reddish hue. Originally Mentaiko was Korean, which explains why it pairs so well with kimchi.
Mentaiko kimchi udon is so ridiculously easy to make that I wish I had mentaiko all the time. You can purchase it at most Japanese grocery stores or maybe even Korean ones. I found mine at Fujiya, a popular Japanese centric grocery store here in Vancouver.
Mentaiko Kimchi Udon Recipe
1 sac of mentaiko
2 tablespoons of kimchi
2 bricks of frozen udon
2 tablespoons of butter
sliced green onions and nori for garnish
1. Melt the butter over low heat. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. Remove the roe from the sac. Cut the sac open with a knife and use a spoon to scrape the eggs out.
3. Put a pot of water big enough for your two bricks of udon to boil on high heat.
4. Cook the udon according to the cooking directions on the package.
5. Mix the mentaiko and butter together.
6. Drain your udon and while it is hot, toss it with the mentaiko butter combination. Once the udon is coated, add the kimchi and toss well.
7. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and nori.
Mentaiko kimchi udon is spicy, creamy and delicious. You’ll dream about this udon. I know I do.