Sea Urchin Sushi Recipe – Everything You Need To Know

Sea Urchin Sushi Recipe – Everything You Need To Know

There’s something about sushi that just makes it so intriguing. The way the ingredients are artfully arranged on a small piece of rice just seems so complex and interesting.

And sea urchin sushi is no exception! This exotic sushi option is definitely worth trying if you’re looking to spice up your sushi routine.

What Is Sea Urchin?

The sea urchin is a spiny, round creature that lives in the ocean. It has a hard shell, or “test,” with many small holes on it. Though it looks like a plant, its closest relative is actually the starfish. It eats by using its five teeth to scrape off algae and other organisms from rocks and coral.

The name “urchin” comes from the Middle English word “herichun” which means hedgehog. Urchins are also called sea hedgehogs because of their sharp spines. There are about 950 different species of sea urchin found in all parts of the world except Antarctica.

Sea urchins are prized for their roe, which is also called uni, and they’re often eaten as an expensive delicacy in Japanese cuisine.

The edible portion of any sea urchin is its gonads—the reproductive organs that produce eggs and sperm. Also called “roe,” these organs are located inside the animal’s hard shell, and they come in five separate lobes.

Sea urchins exhibit sexual dimorphism: male sea urchins have blue or green roe when harvested, while females have orange roe.

What is Sea Urchin Sushi

What Is Sea Urchin Sushi?

There are many types of sushi, but sea urchin sushi is one of the most popular ones among those who love Japanese food. It can be found at most Japanese restaurants around the world, as it’s easily accessible to anyone who wants to try it out.

Sea urchin sushi is usually served on its own as nigiri or sushi roll, on top of a small bed of rice. Because uni has such a strong taste, it doesn’t need to be dipped in soy sauce or eaten with wasabi. In fact, doing so will drown out the subtle flavor of the sea urchin.

How To Make Sea Urchin Sushi At Home

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating sea urchin, you know it’s a dish that can be best described as “love-it-or-hate-it.” The taste is unique and very distinct and requires a certain kind of person to appreciate it.

If you’re one of those people that enjoys a little funkiness in their sushi, this video will give you step-by-step instructions on how to make sea urchin sushi at home.


  • Seasoned sushi rice
  • Sea urchin (uni)
  • Lemon juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Spring onions


  1. Set aside the cleaned sea urchin that has been marinated in lemon juice.
  2. Make sushi rice from Japanese short-grain rice that has been seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar.
  3. Take a medium golf ball-sized piece of seasoned sushi rice in your hands, roll it into a smooth ball, then shape it into an oval with your fingers.
  4. Keep the rice bed on a sushi tableware set and delicately arrange the marinated sea urchin (uni) on top.
  5. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger and garnished with finely chopped spring onions.

Different Grades Of Sea Urchin Sushi

The best uni has a bright gold or orange hue, a strong texture, and a sweet flavor. The low-grade uni has a pale hue and is largely made up of residual sea urchin parts after processing.

Uni is often separated into three grades, with the following characteristics:

  • Grade A is of the highest quality and is from the Akoya sea urchin in Japan. These are cream-colored, with firm, plump, and sweet-tasting sushi-grade roe. They are usually thick, rich, and creamy in texture with a slightly sweet flavor.
  • Grade B is the next highest quality and is from Norway. These are vibrant orange colors, with firm, plump, and sweet-tasting sushi-grade roe. They have a medium thickness, richness, and creaminess in texture but have a lighter flavor than Grade A.
  • Grade C is the lowest quality sea urchin roe and is usually white-colored, with a loose and soft texture. The flavor varies from sweet to bitter or even metallic tasting.

Uni is also available fresh (Nama uni), frozen (to uni), baked and frozen (yaki uni), steamed (Mushi uni), and salted (shio uni), which is normally reserved for the lower grades of uni. Uni is also available as Neri uni (blended urchin paste) and tsuba uni (a lumpy paste).

What Does Sea Urchin Sushi Taste Like?

The taste of sea urchin can be described as creamy, briny, and sweet. The texture is smooth and tender. It’s often compared to the texture of soft tofu or custard. Its texture is soft and creamy, with an ocean breeze taste.

Some liken its flavor to the smell of fish food in an aquarium, while others say it’s similar to the smell of low tide on a beach. It’s not at all fishy, but rather has a savory flavor that’s unique and indescribable.

Nutritional Values

Serving Size: 1 Roll (143 grams)

Calories from Fat37
Total Fat4.1g – 6%
Saturated Fat0.9g – 5%
Polyunsaturated Fat1.6g
Monounsaturated Fat0.7g
Cholesterol85mg – 28%
Sodium182mg – 8%
Potassium285mg – 8%
Total Carbohydrates24g – 8%
Dietary Fiber0.2g – 1%
Vitamin A11%
Vitamin C20%
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet.

Where To Get Sea Urchin Sushi

If you’re looking for a good place to buy sea urchin sushi, there are several options:

  1. A Japanese grocery store. This is probably the easiest way to find sea urchin sushi if you live in an area with a large Japanese population. If you don’t have access to a Japanese grocery store, try looking online for delivery services that sell this delicacy.
  2. A high-end restaurant. If you’re willing to spend more money on sea urchin sushi than most people would, your best bet is probably a high-end restaurant with an extensive menu and a well-trained chef who knows how to prepare this dish properly.
  3. An online seafood supplier. There are many online seafood suppliers who sell frozen sea urchins at reasonable prices that can be shipped directly to your door (or wherever else you need them). The downside is that these products may not be as fresh as what you’d get from a local source (like those mentioned above), but if freshness isn’t important then this may be the best option for you!
Where To Get Sea Urchin Sushi


What Is The Best Time To Eat Sea Urchin In Japan?

The best time to eat sea urchins in Japan is during the season of uni, which is from early November to mid-February. You can get it year-round, but you’ll see the highest prices, and the highest quality uni will be during the uni season.

If you’re traveling to Japan with a group of friends or family, I highly recommend buying uni at one of the many seafood markets in Tokyo and Kyoto. These markets have the freshest and most delicious sea urchin you’ll ever taste! They are also very affordable compared to other places that sell uni outside of Japan.

Why Is Sea Urchin Sushi So Expensive?

It’s rare, it’s seasonal and it’s expensive.

The sea urchin is a delicacy with a unique taste and texture that many people love. But the cost of this sushi staple can be prohibitively high.

The cost of sea urchin varies greatly depending on where it’s purchased and when it’s consumed. The price per pound generally increases as the season progresses, growing from about $100 per pound in January to more than $400 per pound in June or July.

Seasonal variations are due to supply and demand factors: urchins tend to be more plentiful during the summer months when they’re spawning and releasing eggs into the ocean. As such, there are fewer urchins available for harvesting and consumption during this time.

Because it only produces a little amount of edible meat, the expense of collecting, cleaning, and transporting it to your plate is time and labor. All of these things contribute to the initial cost.

What Can I Use Sea Urchin For Other Than Sushi?

Here are some ideas:

  • Use it as a topping on risotto or pasta dishes. The creamy texture and delicate flavor of sea urchin is a great complement to creamy pasta like fettuccine Alfredo or pesto-based dishes such as linguine with clam sauce. You can also add just a bit of sea urchin to risotto and stir until it melts into the rice.
  • Add it to eggs: With its creamy texture and salty-sweet flavor, uni is a natural addition to scrambled eggs (or any other egg preparation). You can also add some of the roe right into the mix before you scramble—just break apart the sac and stir it into the egg mixture with some butter or cream. If you’re not sure you’ll like the flavor, try adding only a small amount at first; once you get used to it, you can work your way up to more generous portions.
  • Add it to salads. Sea urchin makes an excellent addition to salads made with greens like arugula or mâche since both are naturally salty and can stand up to the rich flavor of sea urchin without being overpowered by it.

Is Sea Urchin Good For Your Health?

Sea urchin has many health benefits because it contains high amounts of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin A, copper, and zinc. Sea urchin also contains omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for good health but are often lacking in modern diets due to the heavy consumption of processed foods.

Sea urchin also contains a lot of calcium which helps build strong bones and teeth and prevents osteoporosis. This makes sea urchins an excellent food for those at risk for osteoporosis or already suffering from the condition.

Some studies have shown that eating sea urchins can help people lose weight by increasing their metabolic rate while reducing their appetite so they consume fewer calories than they normally would without changing their diet or exercise routine.


Thanks for reading our guide on sea urchin sushi. We hope you found it helpful and informative.

The next time you find yourself near the coast, be sure to stop by a sushi restaurant and order some sea urchin sushi.

With a delicate flavor and soft texture, it’s no wonder this type of sushi is becoming increasingly popular.

And if you want to take your culinary skills up a notch, try making it at home!

Enjoy and have a nice day!