Traditional Chinese Name:
This ingredient is cooling and slightly sweet to taste.
You can check out this video on starting your basic soup pantry!
The abalone is an edible mollusk. It is composed of a hard, outer shell with a soft meaty flesh (which is the part that we use and eat in soups). Abalone found in the wild is close to extinction, so a lot of the abalone we consume now is often farmed. I don’t use abalone very often and do prefer the sea snail instead (it’s cheaper and environmentally more friendly!).
The abalone is a delicacy in many Asian cuisines. Similar to many of its cousins, the sea snail or conch, it’s often used in Chinese soups to bring out a little more sweet and flavours of the sea. The abalone has a chewy texture, absorbing the same flavours of the soup and ingredients within it and makes for a great addition to the meal.
How do I prepare it?
- If using fresh abalone (usually from frozen), you will have to thaw and then scrub the abalone as they are usually quite dirty
- If using canned abalone, you can use directly out of the can. Many will also prefer to keep the abalone water for soup or cooking usage.
- If using dried abalone, you will need to soak in cool water for at least 1 hour prior to usage
Where can I buy it?
- You can purchase abalone in most Asian supermarkets in either frozen, canned or dried form
- In Hong Kong, you can buy these fresh (still in the water tanks) from the wet marts
- Chinese herbal and dried goods shops will definitely carry dried abalone in various sizes
What is the cost?
In Canada, a pack of frozen medium-sized abalones (as pictured in the video above) costs around $9-10 CAD for a pack of 5
- Abalone is a good source of iron, phosphorus, sodium and potassium
- It is a low-fat protein that can be served as part of the meal
Abalone shell dust is extremely dangerous and can lead to irritant bronchitis and asthma attacks
Due to the exploitation of their meat and shell, many abalone species are now considered endangered. Although there is abalone farming, the demand of abalone far exceeds that of supply
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