Abalones are rare treats. Usually, the only ones available are the dried ones or the canned ones and they're very expensive! But lately, I've seen fresh ones in our specialty market and there are frozen ones too. As for the price? Well, in any form, abalones are costly! Let's leave it at that.
Anyway, previously, I'd make do with
faux abalone, which is really sliced mushrooms. And, for weekend dinners, the faux abalone did nicely. Special occasions requires the real thing, though.
this Chinese New Year, I was really happy to find a pack of frozen
abalones in the special market. There were 5 pieces in the pack and despite the high price, I bought them. And paired them with shitake mushrooms! Yum,
is actually an simple recipe. What is complicated is the cleaning of
the abalones and, if using dried mushrooms (which I used), the pre-soaking,
the fresh or frozen (thawed) abalones, scrub them and remove the
"fishy" membranes (sides and bottom) then pressure cook for 20 minutes (or more until tender)
in a mixture of chicken stock, lots of ginger and a bit of soy sauce.
As for the dried mushrooms, pick the ones with nice tops
or what they call "flower" design and soak the mushrooms for at least 12
hours, changing the soaking liquid once or twice.
Of course it is easiest to use canned abalone and fresh shitake, which take almost no preparation at all.
Here's the recipe:
1. Soak 10 dried mushrooms overnight.
2. Clean and pressure-cook the abalones (if using fresh/frozen ones).
3. Saute 4 thin slices of ginger in some canola oil mixed with a little sesame oil.
4. Remove the ginger and saute some sliced onions (remove also after)
5. Saute about a teaspoon of abalone XO sauce then added the cleaned and rehydrated mushrooms.
Pour in about 1/2 cup chicken stock and 1 tablespoon each of shao xing
wine, light soya sauce and oyster sauce. Simmer for about 30 minutes
(at least). Stir once in a while. If the liquid evaporates fast, add
up to 1/4 cup more chicken stock. Adjust seasonings (especially if your
soy sauce is very salty). In my case, I added about half a teaspoon of
brown sugar, to temper the saltiness a bit.
7. Thicken with cornstarch slurry and top with some sesame oil.
8. Fish out the mushrooms and place decoratively on a plate with the abalone. Pour the sauce over.