Braised Abalone and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce is an excellent dish for special occasions, featuring an Asian culinary delicacy. The abalone is braised until tender and then coated with a flavorful savory sauce.
What is Abalone
Abalone is a marine mollusk and is considered a premium ingredient in many Asian cuisines. It has a mild flavor and a chewy texture which can become tender and buttery when cooked right.
So how can abalone be cooked? I have opportunities to enjoy this delicacy in different ways:
- Abalone soup: this is how my mom cooks it at home
- Abalone sashimi: when served raw at Japanese restaurants, it has an interesting crunchy texture and fresh ocean flavor.
- Pan-fried or seared abalone: this can taste surprisingly buttery and silky.
- Braised abalone: the abalone will be tender with a mild sweetness when braised.
You can come across braised abalone with oyster sauce in some fine restaurants in Vietnam. It is also my favorite way to cook abalone at home. The dish is called “bào ngư sốt dầu hào”.
The mild flavor of abalone goes pretty well with the nutty taste of broccoli. Besides, the crispness of blanched broccoli adds more textures to the dish. This braised abalone with broccoli is an excellent dish for special occasions and holidays, such as Lunar New Year.
Related: this Chinese-style lettuce with oyster sauce is also great for Lunar New Year celebrations.
Here are what you need for the dish:
🦪 Abalone: there are many abalone species in the world and some can be pretty large. I prefer those that aren’t too big, smaller than the size of the palm, such as Vietnamese or Korean abalones. It is often sold live or frozen in the shell or canned.
🥦 Vegetables: broccoli and shiitake mushrooms. I recommend using fresh shiitake mushrooms for the dish, but the dried ones may also work as substitutions.
🧄 Aromatics and seasonings: you will also need typical Asian aromatics and seasonings, including garlic, ginger, scallion and oyster sauce.
How to Prepare Abalone
Before cooking, you will need to clean abalones unless you use the canned ones. Mine are frozen in the shell so I need to use a paring knife to release the meat from the shell.
Then I use half a lime to scrub around the abalones, as well as scrape off any sliminess with the paring knife. I also use a brush to scrub off all the black stuff, remove the mouth and intestines, as in the image above.
How to Make Braised Abalone
This braised abalone with broccoli in oyster sauce may sound fancy, but the cooking steps are actually straightforward.
1️⃣ Braise the abalones with aromatics until tender: this step can be done on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker. I have tried both, and the stovetop route will produce much more flavorful abalones and cooking liquid.
2️⃣ Thicken the sauce: once the abalones are tender, discard the aromatics. Remove the abalones and slice them thinly. You may need to boil the braising liquid for a few minutes to reduce it. Then season with oyster sauce and thicken with some cornstarch slurry.
3️⃣ Assemble the dish: blanch the broccoli in a large pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain well, then arrange the vegetables on a serving plate. Slice the abalones thinly and arrange on top of the broccoli. Pour the sauce over everything and serve right away.
If you need a gourmet dish for special occasions, I hope you will give this braised abalone recipe a try. Of course, you can also make it for weeknight dinner since it is quite simple to cook.
Here are more delicious recipes for special occasions:
You may also want to take a look at my list of Lunar New Year recipes.
⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Braised Abalone with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce
- 3-3.5 oz abalones without shells (about 3 average size abalones)
- half a lime (to clean the abalones)
- cooking oil
- a 1-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
- white parts of 2-3 scallion stalks
- 3 small to medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 oz trimmed broccoli, cut into pieces of similar size
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2-3 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2-3 teaspoons water
- Use a paring knife to release abalone meat from the shell. Use half a lime to scrub around the abalones. Scrape off any sliminess with the paring knife if needed. Then use a brush to scrub off all the black stuff. You can also trim off the black edges if desired. Also remove the mouth and intestines. Rinse well.
- Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add ginger slices and cook for several seconds until fragrant. Then add the white parts of scallions and garlic. Add the abalones in a single layer and sear both sides very briefly, about 30 seconds each side.
- Add chicken stock to the saucepan (it should cover the abalones) and add the shiitake mushrooms and salt. Bring everything to a boil and skim off foam if needed. Reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer gently with the lid slightly askew for about 2 hours or slightly more until the abalones are tender.
- Discard the ginger, garlic cloves and white scallion parts. Take the abalones and shiitake mushrooms out of the sauce and set aside. You should have about ¾ cup (180ml) of braising liquid in the saucepan. If you have more than that, bring the braising liquid to a boil to reduce it until you have about ¾ cup (180ml).
- Add oyster sauce to the saucepan and stir well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Dissolve cornstarch into water, and slowly add the cornstarch slurry while stirring to thicken the sauce to your liking.
- Bring a large pot with plenty of water to a boil, then add broccoli florets. Blanch quickly for 1-2 minutes to cook the broccoli while keeping it crisp-tender. Then briefly dip them into a bowl of room temperature water to stop the cooking process. Remove from water right away to retain some warmth. Drain well and arrange on a serving plate.
- Slice the abalones thinly. Also slice the mushrooms if desired. Arrange them on top of the blanched broccoli. Pour the sauce generously over everything. Serve right away.
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