Ingredient Name: Abalone
Traditional Chinese Name: 鮑魚(Bào yú)
Honestly speaking, abalone itself has no flavour.  It is the flavour of the soup or sauce that makes abalone tasty and it is the rarity that makes it so expensive (similar to Shark’s Fin).  I’ve found that using large snails is a great economical and environmental substitute for virtually the same texture and purpose.  The Chinese still view abalone as a first class meat and it is a must-have for weddings and banquets.
What is this?
  • Abalone is a medium-sized to very large edible sea snail type mollusk
  • It is composed of a hard outer shell, with an iridescent interior and a soft meaty flesh
  • Abalone meat is considered a delicacy
  • Many species of abalone are now at risk of extinction due to commercial exploitation as a food source

How do I prepare it?

  • If using fresh abalone (usually from frozen), you will have to thaw and then scrub the abalone (see picture above) 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 12 hours prior to usage

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase abalone in most Asian supermarkets in either frozen, canned or dried form
  • Chinese pharmaceuticals will definitely carry dried abalone in various sizes

Substitutes

  • Large snails are an ideal and economical substitute for abalone in soups and braised dishes

What is the cost?

  • The cost of abalone varies greatly depending on the quality and size of the abalone
  • Similar to pictured above, a pack of 3 frozen abalone costs around $15.00 CAD for medium-sized abalone

Any benefits?

  • Abalones are a good source of iron, phosphorus, sodium and potassium

Any precautions?

  • 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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