May 26, 2021

Garlic Butter Abalone 大蒜奶油鮑魚片

Even as canned food, canned abalone still come in wide price variations. It's better serve the expensive ones as simple as possible to truly showcase the quality and original flavor. As for the ones with much more affordable price tags, want to try butter it up a notch?

Garlic butter abalone -


  • 1 can abalone (215 grams solids)
  • 10 baby bok choy (or use the smaller center part)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • Some chopped scallion
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons abalone juice
  • Some corn starch and water mixture


Remove the abalone from the can and slice them. Save some juice aside.

Use baby bok choy, or simply peel away the bigger outer layers and use the tender center only. Slightly trim off the bottom but still able to keep all the leaves intact.  

Bring a small pot of water to a boil then quickly dip these bok choy in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Drain and set aside for later use.

Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Destem and chop the red chilies. Destem and chop the scallion.

Use a non-stick pan, add the butter and turn to medium high heat. Wait till butter melts, add in garlic and red chilies, cook for about 30 seconds. You'll know when that garlicky buttery aroma starts to fill the kitchen, just make sure not to burn the garlic bits.

Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of black vinegar, and 4 tablespoons of saved abalone juice. Let it cook for a short moment and be careful not to dry out the sauce.

Transfer sliced abalone over and cook for 30 seconds to one minute. Not too long since the abalone was already cooked through. Just enough time to let the sauce cling on every slice.

Mix in some corn starch and water on the side. Just a little bit will do. Turn to low heat then pour over the corn starch water mixture while gently move around these ingredients to prevent lumping. Cook till the whole thing starts to thicken a little, but not too lumpy.

Arrange bok choy around the serving plate. Transfer the gooey sauce along with abalone slices to the center of the plate. Sprinkle some chopped scallion on top.

Really, who wouldn't love it when butter meets garlic? 

Stronger seasonings are extra helpful especially there's this distinct flavor from canned abalone, somewhat like a compact umami scent, more so metallic as some would describe. A slight touch from the black vinegar also does the trick to further brighten up only the good side of canned abalone. 

I don't usually buy canned abalone myself, but it's one of the common fancy gifts to give to someone among Asians. It's kind of like receiving a nice bottle of wine or sorts. If you happen to have canned abalone on hand and not quite sure what to do with it, perhaps giving this recipe a try? Butter and garlic, this route can't be bad at all right?

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