How to cook dried abalone

 

Once a tough dish for me, costly to prepare, difficult to cook thus fit only for the rich. The secret of preparing and cooking abalone was kept very tight by top Chinese cuisine chef and was rarely taught to people or apprentice they consider as outsider.

I’ve tried many times preparing and cooking dried abalone using trial and error method and in the process, developed an abalone phobia for myself. Perhaps the feeling, was from the big disgrace and humiliation I suffered trying to cook abalone.

There was a period in my life where I thought, “I’m better off just eating can abalone for the rest of my life”.

On one of the family gathering dinner, I ate an abalone cooked by my sister in law, it tastes so good and I thought it was one of those canned abalone. Life took a twist on that faithful day when I learnt the secret recipe of cooking abalone.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. fresh abalone or 3/4 lb. dried abalone. The one I use is about the size of an inch (dried length).

Flavoring
2 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine or white rice wine or ginger wine
1 cube of chicken stock or chicken stock of your own
1 or 2 inch length of old ginger root
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Garnish
2 scallion, cut into small pieces
2 whole cilantro plant cut into inch long pieces

Abalone preparing method

1) Soak dried abalone in water for 24 hours at room temperature. Change water every 3 or 6 hours. You may have stench smelling water, rinse and change water as need to rid the smell.

Abalone after soaked overnight

2) Heat up a pot of water, enough to cover all abalone. Put in abalone when water is boiling. Boil abalone in pot for 30 minutes to 45 minutes. This step is to further removing stench smell in dried abalone.

3) Fill pot with clean water and heat up until boil. Add in all flavoring ingredients together with abalone to simmer for 3 to 4 hours, if the abalone size is small (about an inch to 2 inch, dry length). Simmer up to 10 hours for bigger sized abalone.

For simmering, always use high heat to boil up water and lower down to lowest heat when simmering for long hours. Keep an eye on your water level to avoid drying up, you can add water if it gets too dried.

At this point it is not necessary to taste for saltiness because of large water volume, taste it when its ready for serving.

Optionally, you can use clay pot to simmer. Clay pot retain and spread heat better than steel pot.

Use fork to poke the center (thickest) part of the abalone to test its tenderness.

4) When the abalone is tender enough, thicken with cornstarch and taste for saltiness.

5) Serve on plate, topping with dressing ingredients and enjoy your abalone.

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