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Sea Urchin Species

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Aka Uni/Red Sea Urchin Roe

Sea urchins, or uni/海栗in Japanese, are popular in many countries, but maybe not as much as in Japan!
The situation sometimes is becoming ridiculous as time and again Chinese and North Korrean ships are caught poaching sea urchins in the Japan seas to export them later to Japan!

There are many kinds of sea urchins, some great, some barely acceptable, and many inedible.
I will keep this posting to the most popular ones in Japan.

EZO-BAFUN-UNI

Ezobafun-uni, or Kaze, or Kanze are best appreciated in Spring.
Most are caught off Hokkaido.
As its name in Japanese says (Sea Chestnut), when fresh it has a firm texture and tastes like chestnuts.

Its roe is a beautiful orange.
Beware of imported copies that don’t mely in your mouth!

Beautiful as sushi nigiri or gunkan!

KITA-MURASAKI-UNI

Appearing on the markets between early Summer and Atumn, domestic specimen come from Hokkaido (12,000 tonnes).

Please note the different colour, more yellowish.
It is widely imported from Russia (6.200 tonnes), USA (2,600 tonnes), Chili (2,100 tonnes), Canada (800 tonnes) and Kora (300 tonnes).

Great as sushi nigiri!
Good quality specimens should be firm, with a definite shape, and leave a yellow colour inside its box or on chopsticks!

CHILI-UNI

Chili-Uni/Sea Urchin from Chili is considered as the best imported sea urchin in Japan and merits a special mention.

Beautiful served as sushi gunkan!

AKA-UNI

Aka-uni/Red sea Urchin, although of a lower grade, is considered a choice morsel.

Aka uni roe, some of which will find its way in the following dishes!

SEA URCHIN DISHES

There are countless ways of cooking and using sea urchins!
The following are just suggestions.
Enjoy!


Uni Chyawan Mushi


Cold Pepperocino Sea Urchin Spaghetti


Sea Urchi Gratin in its shell


Another Sea Urchin Gratin in its shell.


Sea Urchin Pilaf


Uni-Renkon: Sea Urchin cooked inside slices of Lotus roots


Sea Urchin Shou-mai


Sea Urchi Tofu and Avocado Millefeuille


Sea Urchin and Tofu Soup

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