Braised Abalone with Mushrooms
Moderate - You'll be right
Blacklip abalone braised with pork ribs and mushrooms, doused in a thick gravy made from cooked abalone juices. A truly decadent dish that highlights the abalone's natural umami and fit to entertain any household.
Abalone comes in multiple forms and such as canned, fresh, frozen or dried. Because of this, the preparation involved and cooking techniques can vary across the board depending on which type of abalone you are using. In this recipe, I use Eyrewoolf IQF (frozen) blacklip abalone.
This recipe is a variation of my grandma’s who would only make it on special occasions, as fresh or frozen abalone was hard to come by. We’d typically indulge in this dish when a family friend had spent time foraging these delicacies, and generously shared with us their haul. Grandma always said when slow braising abalone it’s important to incorporate fat, with the best being pork fat. Pork ribs were her cut of choice and also my personal preference. She would place the blacklip abalone and ribs in a pot with some fresh aromats, add a splash of water, and simmer it covered on a low heat for 4-6 hours or until tender.
Cooking abalone this way can be tricky and indeed time consuming. Over the years, I have discovered a way to improve the flavours of grandma’s dish and shorten the cooking time without compensating on the natural flavours of wild blacklip abalone.
Using a pressure cooker, tenderising the abalone, will only take 45 minutes. I also add enoki mushrooms to double the umami during the cooking process. While the mushrooms cook their natural flavours become concentrated, and they eventually absorb the umami emitted from the abalone. Some consider the mushrooms even more enjoyable to consume over the abalone because of this technique. These days, with fresh and frozen abalone more readily available, this dish is extremely popular in our household.
So if fresh abalone or frozen abalone is something you’ve always wanted to try cooking, this is the perfect entry level recipe. Do yourself a favour and grab a pressure cooker to experience tender and flavoursome wild blacklip abalone on any given night.
300g pork ribs
1 pack enoki mushrooms
1 knob of ginger, crushed
1 bunch of spring onions, halved
1 bunch of coriander
1-2 Eyrewoolf frozen abalone (200g), thawed
½ teaspoon anchovy salt (optional)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 bok choy, washed and quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons oyster sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon potato starch/corn starch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Cracked white pepper
1. Place pork ribs in a medium pot with water just to cover and bring to the boil. Remove from heat, strain and rinse well under running cold water to remove any impurities.
2. In the meantime, wash and agitate abalone with sea salt to remove any residue.
Duncan’s tip: Use a tooth brush to thoroughly clean the abalone.
3. In a pressure cooker, cover the bottom with the pork ribs, then layer with enoki mushrooms, ginger, spring onions, and coriander. Rest abalone on top and add water. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
4. Blanch bok choy in hot water for 10 seconds then remove and place immediately in cold water, strain and set aside.
5. After 45 minutes, release pressure from pressure cooker safely. Carefully remove abalone, enoki mushrooms and pork ribs and set aside. Strain braising liquid and set aside.
6. In a large saucepan or fry pan add oil and saute garlic until fragrant. Then, add braising liquid, oyster sauce, soy sauce, anchovy salt, sea salt and sugar, and bring to the boil. Reduce to medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until sauce becomes slightly thickened.
7. In the meantime, slice abalone into 0.5cm slices and transfer to a serving plate along with pork ribs and enoki mushrooms.
8. In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of water and potato starch and mix well to make a slurry. Then, add slowly but immediately stir into the braising liquid. Once thick, add bok choy and warm through for 15 seconds.
9. Transfer bok choy to a serving plate and pour over thickened braising liquid. Dress lightly with sesame oil, garnish with coriander leaves and cracked white pepper. Serve with steamed rice.