Samurai Gourmet & You Say Catsup, I Say Ketchup (Ketchup Noodles)

Samurai Gourmet & You Say Catsup, I Say Ketchup (Ketchup Noodles)

One of my favorite shows on Netflix is the Japanese production Samurai Gourmet. I LOVE this show. I’m crossing my fingers that they produce more episodes.  It follows newly retired exec Kasumi as he rediscovers the simple pleasures of life (most of which involve food of course) .  Timid by nature he has an alter ego, a confident, bravado filled Samurai, who appears when Kasumi is faced with an awkward situation.  Its funny, sweet, poignant and filled with FOOD PORN.

Each episode features a meal that Kasumi savors over.  My favorite episode finds him searching for a favorite dish from his youth. The first bite immediately transports him back to his childhood.  To really make you drool there are close ups of each dish being prepared or eaten followed by Kasumi (sometimes his wife) exclaiming “oishi!” (delicious!). If you have Netflix, this is must see TV.  If you don’t, call me.  We’ll do a marathon session and go out for ramen afterwards.

So I arrived home after a particularly long commute and needed to unwind.  Not wanting to watch the news I popped on Netflix and found my favorite episode of Samurai Gourmet.  Big mistake, before the end credits ran I was ravenous.  Watching Kasumi slurp up a plate of pasta had me salivating for a bowl of noodles.  I hopped up, headed to the fridge and luckily found a tiny portion of linguine left from last night’s dinner.  Along with the noodles I grabbed the butter and the bottle of ketchup.

Yep, you read that right.  Butter and ketchup.  Did you laugh when you read that? When I was a kid my Mom would make us Ketchup noodles for an after school snack.  It was quick and easy and held us over until dinner.  I continued the tradition with my kids and would have a plate waiting for them as they came running in from school.  Jamie was our noodle girl, loved them.

You can add anything you want to this dish.  Saute some onions and minced garlic before adding the noodles to the pan.  Spice it up with a dash of chili flakes..use you imagination!  Its so stupid easy you will want to gussy it up.  Here is a refined version from Just One Cookbook a Japanese blogpost.  See, I’m not alone, ketchup and noodles is a Japanese thing too.


Ketchup Noodles: Trip Down Memory Lane


  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups cooked pasta
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • garlic salt
  • salt and pepper
  • variation:
  • replace ketchup with oyster sauce
  • sunny side up fried egg to each serving


  • Heat a frying pan over medium high heat throw in a generous pat of butter, it should sizzle. Let it melt and begin to brown just a bit. Toss in some cooked noodles...any shape it doesn't matter although I am partial to spaghetti or linguine.  Give it a couple of stirs, squirt in a nice shot of ketchup and season with garlic salt or table salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Continue to toss to heat the noodles through and give it a bit of crispiness from the sugar caramelizing.  So good. Heap it on a plate or pasta bowl and serve immediately.  If you want to jazz it up like my Mom would, get out that green shiny can of parmesan cheese and give it a couple of shakes on top.  I suppose you could use freshly grated parmesan..but it just wouldn't be the same.
  • Come on admit it, you want to try it. so good.
  • There is an Asian version to these noodles too.  Instead of ketchup, use oyster sauce.  Also yummy..also easy!  Omit cheese though.
  • To take it over the TOP.  Fry an egg, sunny side up and top your noodles with the egg.  Beyond good, AMAZING.
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Hi Mui, Claire, Jorge, Jeffy

Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!