I love tempura but one of my favorites is Uni tempura. If you’re bored of the normal shrimp tempura routine, try this. Something about the soft and molten-like texture of the warmed uni against the crisp texture of the tempura batter makes it extra special, at least compared to things like shrimp tempura. It is definitely another way to enjoy sea urchin besides the typical sashimi/sushi way.
The Shiso leaf (green leaf that the uni is sitting on) is really important for this, it adds a special leafy perfume to the uni (which is quite cloying and custardlike). Shiso is my absolute favorite scent. Without the shiso leaf this dish would taste mediocre.
Wrap it around the uni.
Another important step; place the rolled uni inside your freezer for 10-20 minutes. It hardens the uni a bit so that when you put it in the tempura batter, it doesn’t fall apart right away. It solidifies it a little more so it’s easier to handle. If its too frozen you will end up eating cold uni so I would suggest a timer.
This is store bought tempura batter mixing with water. Make sure the water is ice cold.
The last flavor component of this dish is lime juice and lime salt. The lime salt = lime zest + salt. The uni is dipped into the juice, and then the salt.
To garnish, add thin slices of lime.
If the texture is too hard, and not molten-like, then the uni has been fried too long. It should look like this.
Can’t forget the lime zest salt and lime juice.
If you have some extra UNI leftover, you should definitely make some UNI MOJITOS. This dish was popularized by Nobu Matsuhisa, who started the popular japanese Nobu restaurant chain, which is a few steps close to resembling the Benihana japanese steakhouse chain. The liquid is a mixture of white soy sauce, mint, shiso leaf, mint syrup, lime juice, and sake.
Uni enjoyed at a lower temperature, with alcohol.
Happy fourth of July! I can’t wait for fireworks.