The Sea Urchin

Did you know that sea urchin means 'Hedgehog"? This is because of their similar spiky resemblance.

Sea urchin have been known to be used as an aphrodisiac in Japan for thousands of years.
The portion of the sea urchin that is eaten is not actually roe, It is the gonads  that are scooped out of the shell in five delicate, golden sections.

From a nutritional standpoint, sea urchin is one of the most prominent culinary sources of anandamide, a cannabinoid neurotransmitter. Does this mean that eating uni will produce a similar effect to ingesting marijuana? Probably not, but it is possible that uni activates the dopamine system in the brain, humans’ built in “reward circuit.”

Sea urchin is considered a delicacy in many Pacific, Asian and Mediterranean countries.



The taste of sea urchin can vary. The taste has been described as slightly sweet and similar to crayfish/lobster, however others have described the taste as ever so salty, subtle, and reminiscent of the ocean.


Gourmands seek the sea urchin's ovaries, or roe, located within the spiny endoskeleton. The ovaries are extracted by slicing the endoskeleton and scooping out the flesh inside.

In Japan sea urchin ovaries are known as "uni." An ingredient in sushi and sashimi, uni is typically served with soy sauce and wasabi.
In Italy

In Italy sea urchin, known as "ricci di mare," is commonly eaten raw, mixed into omelets or pasta, or smeared on bread.


Storing Tips: Store processed sea urchin covered in the refrigerator at a temperature just above freezing. Product is best used within seven to fourteen days of delivery.


In the Mediterranean,  Sea Urchin  is often eaten raw, sometimes with lemon. In Australia and New Zealand 'Kina' is eaten raw mainly by Maori. In Japan Sea urchin , known as 'Uni', is used widely for sushi or sashimi dishes. The urchin has also been used as a source of food by many other nations worldwide. It is also used in many cultures to flavor omelettes, scrambled eggs, fish soup and mayonnaise.


Commercially, sea urchin can be used to make Béchamel sauce, the boullie for a soufflé, and is added to Hollandaise sauce for flavour enhancement. In some parts of South America urchin is served raw with lemon, olive oil , and onions. Urchin is also used in many seafood dishes as a flavour enhancer.


The phrase "Sea urchin" occurs as such in the following languages: 

 Azeri: Dəniz şabalıdı, Bosnian: Morski ježevi, Breton: Teureuged, Catalan: Eriçó de mar, Czech: Ježovky, Danish: Søpindsvin, German: Seeigel, Navajo: Táłtłʼááh adijiłii, Estonian: Merisiilikud, Greek: Αχινός, Spanish: Echinoidea, Esperanto: Eĥino, Persian: توتیای دریایی, French: Echinoidea, Galician: Ourizo do mar, Hindi: सी आर्चिन, Croatian: Morski ježinac, Ido: Ekino, Indonesian: Landak Laut, Icelandic: Ígulker, Italian: Echinoidea, Hebrew: קיפודי ים, Georgian: ზღვის ზღარბები, Latin: Echinoidea, Lithuanian: Jūrų ežiai, Hungarian: Tengerisünök, Japanese: ウニ, Malayalam: കടല്‍ച്ചേന, Dutch: Zee-egels, Japanese: ウニ, Norwegian (Bokmål): Sjøpinnsvin, Norwegian (Nynorsk): Kråkebolle, Occitan: Echinoidea, Polish: Jeżowce, Portuguese: Echinoidea, Romanian: Echinoide, Quechua: Yaku askanku, Russian: Морские ежи, Slovak: Ježovky, Serbian: Морски јежеви, Finnish: Merisiilit, Swedish: Sjöborrar, Tagalog: Salungo, Thai: เม่นทะเล, Turkish: Denizkestanesi, Ukrainian: Морські їжаки, Chinese: 海膽.