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Abalone Recipes Chinese Style: Mouthwatering Seafood Dishes to Try at Home

Abalone is a prized delicacy in Chinese cuisine, known for its tender texture and rich umami flavour. As a result, it is often served during special occasions and celebrations. If you're looking to impress your guests with a Chinese-style meal, abalone is a great ingredient to start with.

A wok sizzles with abalone, ginger, and scallions in a fragrant Chinese-style sauce. Steam rises as the dish is garnished with fresh cilantro and served on a bed of steamed rice

When selecting quality abalone, look for those that are firm, plump, and heavy for their size. Avoid any with a strong fishy smell or those that appear slimy or discoloured. Abalone can be purchased fresh or canned, with fresh abalone being more expensive and canned abalone being more convenient.

There are various preparation techniques and cooking methods for abalone, ranging from simple to complex. Some popular ways to prepare abalone include braising, stir-frying, and steaming. Abalone can also be paired with other seafood such as scallops or prawns to create a delicious seafood medley. Don't forget to experiment with different sauces and seasonings to elevate the flavour of your dish.

Key Takeaways

  • Select firm and plump abalone for the best quality.
  • Abalone can be prepared using a variety of techniques and paired with other seafood.
  • Experiment with different sauces and seasonings to enhance the flavour of your dish.

Selecting Quality Abalone

A hand reaches for a large, iridescent abalone shell. It is being carefully inspected for quality, with a focus on its size and color

Abalone is a prized delicacy in Chinese cuisine, and selecting the right type of abalone is crucial for any recipe. Here are some tips to help you choose the best quality abalone:

Fresh vs Frozen vs Canned

Fresh abalone is the most desirable option, but it may not be available all year round. Frozen abalone is a good alternative, but you should always check the packaging for any signs of freezer burn or damage. Canned abalone is the most convenient option, but it may not have the same texture and flavour as fresh or frozen abalone.

Identifying Freshness

When selecting fresh abalone, look for the following signs of freshness:

  • The shell should be tightly closed and not cracked or damaged.
  • The abalone should be heavy for its size.
  • The flesh should be firm and not slimy or mushy.
  • The colour of the flesh should be a vibrant cream or pinkish-white.

If you are unsure about the freshness of the abalone, ask your fishmonger for advice.

When using canned abalone, look for high-quality brands that use whole pieces of abalone. Avoid brands that use minced or chopped abalone, as they may contain fillers or preservatives.

Seafood such as prawns, scallops, and fish can be used in combination with abalone to create a delicious Chinese-style seafood dish. For example, you could try making a stir-fry with abalone, prawns, and vegetables or a hotpot with abalone, fish, and tofu.

Preparation Techniques

Abalone being sliced and marinated in soy sauce and ginger, with vegetables and spices laid out for stir-frying

Preparing abalone can be a bit tricky, but with the right techniques, you can easily get the best out of your abalone. Here are some preparation techniques that you can use to make your abalone dishes more delicious.

Cleaning and Tenderising

Cleaning and tenderising abalone is the first step in preparing it for cooking. To clean the abalone, you need to remove the viscera and other inedible parts. The easiest way to do this is to use a toothbrush to clean the abalone under running water. Be sure to remove all the dirt and debris.

After cleaning, the abalone needs to be tenderised. This can be done by soaking it in saltwater for a few hours. The saltwater helps to break down the tough muscle fibres and makes the abalone more tender.

Slicing and Marinating

Once the abalone is tenderised, it needs to be sliced and marinated. Slicing the abalone requires a sharp knife, so be sure to use a good quality knife. Slice the abalone into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick.

Marinating the abalone is essential to add flavour to the dish. You can use a variety of marinades, but a simple marinade of soy sauce, rice wine, and ginger works well. Marinate the abalone for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Seafood can also be used in abalone recipes to add more flavour. Scallops, prawns, and squid are great options to consider. Be sure to choose fresh seafood and prepare it properly before adding it to your abalone dish.

By following these simple preparation techniques, you can create delicious abalone dishes that are sure to impress your guests.

Cooking Methods

Abalone sizzling in a wok with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Steam rising, chopsticks in the background

Abalone is a prized ingredient in Chinese cuisine and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some popular Chinese cooking methods for preparing abalone:


Steaming is a popular method for cooking abalone, as it allows the natural sweetness and texture of the abalone to shine. To steam abalone, simply place the abalone in a heatproof dish and steam over high heat for 10-15 minutes. You can add ginger and soy sauce to the dish for added flavour. Steamed abalone can be served on its own or with other seafood such as scallops or prawns.


Braising is another popular method for cooking abalone. To braise abalone, first sear it in a hot pan to give it a nice caramelised crust. Then, transfer the abalone to a pressure cooker or a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and other seasonings to the pot, along with some water or stock. Braise the abalone for 30-45 minutes until it is tender and flavourful. Braised abalone can be served with vegetables such as bok choy or mushrooms.


Stir-frying is a quick and easy way to cook abalone. To stir-fry abalone, first slice it thinly and marinate it in soy sauce and ginger for 10-15 minutes. Then, heat up a wok or a frying pan over high heat and add some oil. Stir-fry the abalone for 1-2 minutes until it is just cooked through. You can add other ingredients such as vegetables or seafood to the stir-fry for a more substantial dish.

When cooking abalone, it is important to use high-quality ingredients such as fresh ginger, oyster sauce, and soy sauce to enhance the flavour of the dish. Seafood such as scallops or prawns can also be added to the recipe to create a more complex flavour profile.

Sauce and Seasoning

A wok sizzles as abalone is stir-fried with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. A sprinkle of green onions and sesame seeds adds the finishing touch

Classic Abalone Sauce

The classic abalone sauce is made with oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and salt. This sauce is simple and easy to make, and it is perfect for those who prefer a milder flavour. You can also add a touch of cornstarch to thicken the sauce.

To make the classic abalone sauce, mix together 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch if you prefer a thicker sauce. Mix well and set aside.

Enhancing Flavours

If you want to enhance the flavour of your abalone dish, you can add other seasonings and ingredients to your sauce. Chicken powder and fish sauce are great additions to the classic abalone sauce.

For example, you can mix together 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of chicken powder. You can also add a teaspoon of fish sauce for an extra umami flavour.

Seafood can also be used to enhance the flavour of your abalone dish. You can add shrimp, scallops, or squid to your sauce for a seafood twist. For example, you can mix together 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of chicken powder. Add some chopped shrimp or scallops to the mix and cook until the seafood is cooked through.

Remember, the key to a delicious abalone dish is to balance the flavours. Don't be afraid to experiment with different seasonings and ingredients to find the perfect flavour for your taste.

Serving Suggestions

A platter of Chinese-style abalone with vibrant vegetables and savory sauce


When serving abalone dishes, it is common to pair them with a variety of vegetables to balance out the flavours and textures. Some popular choices include bok choy, Chinese broccoli, snow peas, and shiitake mushrooms. These vegetables can be stir-fried, steamed, or blanched and then drizzled with a light soy sauce and sesame oil dressing.

Another great accompaniment to abalone dishes is rice wine. This alcoholic beverage is commonly used in Chinese cuisine to enhance the flavour of seafood dishes. You can serve it chilled or at room temperature and it pairs well with a variety of abalone dishes.

Presentation Tips

When it comes to presenting your abalone dishes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it's important to showcase the abalone itself. This can be achieved by placing it on top of the dish or arranging it in a visually appealing way.

You can also use green onion or other garnishes to add colour and texture to the dish. For example, thinly sliced green onion can be sprinkled on top of a stir-fried abalone dish to add a pop of colour and a subtle onion flavour.

If you're serving abalone dishes for a special occasion, consider using a decorative platter or serving dish to elevate the presentation. This will add a touch of elegance to your meal and impress your guests.

When proposing the use of seafood in the recipe, it is important to choose seafood that complements the flavour of the abalone. For example, shrimp or scallops can be added to a stir-fried abalone dish to create a delicious seafood medley. Alternatively, you can pair abalone with a seafood soup, such as abalone and fish maw soup, for a hearty and flavourful meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table filled with Chinese-style abalone dishes, surrounded by eager diners with chopsticks in hand

What's the simplest method to prepare Chinese-style abalone?

The simplest method to prepare Chinese-style abalone is to braise it. Braising involves cooking the abalone in a liquid that is flavoured with Chinese herbs and spices. You can use chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine to create a rich and flavourful broth. You can also add vegetables like mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and bok choy to the broth to enhance the flavour.

How do you tenderise abalone for cooking?

To tenderise abalone for cooking, you can either pound it with a meat mallet or slice it thinly. If you choose to pound it, place the abalone between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound it until it becomes tender. If you choose to slice it thinly, use a sharp knife to slice it across the grain.

What's the best duration for soaking abalone before cooking?

The best duration for soaking abalone before cooking depends on the type of abalone you have. If you have fresh abalone, you can soak it in cold water for 24 hours to remove any sand or debris. If you have canned abalone, you don't need to soak it before cooking.

Is it necessary to cook canned abalone before serving?

No, it's not necessary to cook canned abalone before serving. Canned abalone is precooked and can be eaten straight out of the can. However, you can add it to stir-fries, soups, and other dishes to enhance the flavour.

Can you share some tips for cooking frozen abalone with Chinese flavours?

When cooking frozen abalone with Chinese flavours, it's important to thaw it completely before cooking. You can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of cold water for a few hours. Once it's thawed, you can cook it using the same methods as fresh abalone. To add Chinese flavours, use Chinese herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, and star anise. You can also add seafood like shrimp or scallops to create a seafood medley.

What are some top recipes for abalone with chicken in Chinese cuisine?

One popular recipe for abalone with chicken in Chinese cuisine is Braised Abalone with Chicken. This dish combines tender chicken pieces with braised abalone in a rich and flavourful sauce. Another recipe is Stir-Fried Abalone with Chicken and Vegetables, which combines abalone with chicken, carrots, and snow peas in a savoury sauce. If you're looking for a soup, you can try Abalone and Chicken Soup, which combines abalone with chicken, mushrooms, and Chinese herbs in a nourishing broth.

I would suggest using seafood like shrimp or scallops to complement the abalone in these recipes.