Sea urchin is a type of edible marine invertebrate, and while beach swimmers may be familiar with the creature, we likely don’t consider it food. Well, sea urchin is a popular delicacy in Hawaii, and if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the islands, make sure to give it a try. The edible part of the sea urchin is called the “uni,” which refers to the animal’s gonads, and it’s often described as having a creamy, rich flavor with hints of sweetness.
This video shows how sea urchins are traditionally prepared and eaten in Hawaii.
@foodwtf 🎥 @Maile Hammahz shares how to prepare and eat #seaurcin the hawaiian way 🤩 Would you give this a try? #foodie #foodtiktok #hawaiianfood #hawaiitiktok ♬ original sound – Foodwtf
If you’re looking for fresh sea urchin, your best bet is to head to one of Hawaii’s many seafood markets. At the market, you’ll be able to select live sea urchins that have been caught that day (or you could always just catch them yourself). Make sure to ask the market worker to open the sea urchin so that you can inspect the uni inside, and be sure to avoid any sea urchins that have brown or mushy uni. Uni should always be bright orange and firm to the touch.
Once you’ve procured your live sea urchins, it’s time to get cooking. The first step is to remove the uni from the shell. This can be done by using a spoon or your fingers. Once the uni has been removed, rinse it under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. The next step is up to you—you can either eat the uni raw or cook it. If you choose to cook the uni, doing so will change its flavor and texture. One popular way to cook uni is by tempura frying it. To tempura fry uni, simply coat it in a batter made of egg and flour before frying in hot oil until golden brown.
If you’re planning on eating the urchin raw, it’s important to note that the taste can be quite strong and acquired. To make the taste more palatable, some people like to mix the raw urchin flesh with lemon juice or vinegar before eating it. Alternatively, you could cook the urchin flesh by sautéing it in butter or olive oil.