Do they eat carbonara in Japan? The answer is yes, albeit with a few tweaks to adjust the dish to more Japanese palette preferences. This take on carbonara is one of our favorite examples of a fusion dish– it takes a beloved home cooking method from one culture, in this case creamy and relatively simple to make pasta carbonara, and applies it using ingredients beloved to another. Here, mentaiko caviar meets fresh egg and heavy cream, highlighted with soy sauce and sake, over thick and chewy udon noodles. Mentaiko udon carbonara is rarely found served in restaurants outside of Japan, but is fortunately an absolute breeze to make at home. Try the following recipe to bring a delicious, filling and satisfying Japanese-Italian fusion dish to your kitchen!
Mentaiko Udon Carbonara
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream (4 Tbsp)
1 tsp soy sauce
2 blocks of frozen udon noodles, or 2 bundles of dry udon noodles
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp ryorishu cooking sake
kosher/sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 shiso leaves
shredded nori seaweed
Dice ½ onion and sauté in a large wok with 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp ryorishu cooking sake until onions are translucent.
Remove mentaiko from the egg sacs with a knife and transfer to a mixing bowl. Discard the membrane.
Add the egg, whipping cream, and soy sauce to the mixing bowl, and whisk until the texture is uniform and smooth.
Bring a medium sized stock pot of water to a boil, then add the udon. For frozen udon, boil them until they are hot and chewy all the way through. For dry udon, follow the package directions for boiling.