Uni or Sea Urchin: the truffle of the sea—this is one of my favorite delicacies. It has a mild, delicate taste and the creamy texture goes well with pasta or noodles in general. In fact, the flavor is quite mild that it’s easy for another ingredient to overpower it.
It’s also interesting to note that some studies and publications say that Sea urchin has a chemical called Anandamide, which is responsible for getting you the same reaction as getting high when you smoke cannabis. While the chemical is definitely present in this delicacy, this of course requires further research. (https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vvxawj/arctic-circle-gonads-got-me-high, http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/1994/08/4364.html)
I’m sharing with you how I like to make Creamy Uni Udon, after tasting various dishes of the same kind other restaurants. Last year, I tried making this dish thrice—making the mistake of adding strong-flavored ingredients like Japanese mayo. Finally, I was able to get the right ratio for a good recipe.
When buying uni, make sure you can see the individual fillets in the tray or bowl, rather than just one blob of mush. In the photo below, while the top has been flattened by the lid of the container, you can still see the outline of each individual piece.
This is actually a backlog recipe, something that I made late last year. I would suggest pairing this dish with a light salad with any citrus dressing, and perhaps some tempura.
Creamy Uni Udon
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 300 grams of fresh uni
- 400 grams of fresh udon
- 100 grams of chopped straw mushrooms or shimeji mushrooms
- 50 grams of sliced shitake mushrooms
- 2-3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of mirin
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of chopped leeks or green onion
- Nori strips for garnish
- Sesame seeds or furikake for garnish
- In a pot of boiling water, blanch the fresh udon until the noodles have separated from each other. Drain the water and set aside.
- In a separate pan melt the butter and saute the garlic and 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped leeks.
- Once fragrant and the green onions are softer, add in the mushrooms and saute for a while.
- Add in the cream, soy sauce, and mirin and mix well.
- Add in 150 grams of the uni and incorporate it in the sauce well for about 1-2 minutes. I don’t like the sauce to be very smooth so I just use my wooden spoon to crush the uni. Otherwise, you can choose to blend the cream, soy sauce, mirin, and uni before adding into the pan to simmer for about a minute.
- Turn the heat off and add in the cooked udon.
- Serve in a plate and top with the remainder of the fresh uni (150 grams), nori strips and sesame seeds or furikake. You can opt to serve with a quick squeeze of lemon to brighten up the dish.