Drying your Abalone for a nice seafood recipe.

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Dried Abalone is much prized in Chinese cuisine, but is expensive and not easy to prepare. Read on to learn how to soak and clean it for use.

Like Dried Shark’s Fin, or the famous ‘Bird’s Nest’, much of the cachet of Dried Abalone is less about the taste than it is the fact that, being so expensive, it is very much limited to, and associated with special occasions. It takes a lot of time to prepare Dried Abalone for use in the kitchen, and, ultimately, some people feel that the taste experience really isn’t worth the time or expense. Still, that being said, it remains as one of those things that ought to be tried at least once.

Why is Dried Abalone So Expensive?

The cost of dried abalone varies from ‘expensive’ to ‘outrageous.’ In the photo above, you can see a jar on display in a store in Vancouver’s Chinatown in 2018, with the largest and best-quality ones on sale for little over $1000 per pound, down from around $1500 CDN.

For those unfamiliar, abalone is a mollusc found in cool-water coastal regions throughout most of the world, and it is consumed fresh in many countries’ cuisines. Despite the fact that they are difficult to collect in the wild, overfishing has led stocks to dwindle and farmed Abalone now accounts for the majority of Abalone meat consumed in recent years. Abalone farming is currently concentrated in China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, and the dried form of shellfish is regarded mostly in Chinese cuisine.

You can buy Dried Abalone fairly easily, if not cheaply, online these days, but sourcing them is a little bit difficult in brick-and-mortar stores in North America unless you happen to live in a city large enough to have a Chinatown, or with a large enough Asian population to have specialty food shops. Because of the high price commanded by even the cheapest of Dried Abalone, you are unlikely to come across them in small grocery stores.

The best place for finding Dried Abalone is in the sort of store that specializes in ingredients used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where you will often see them offered for sale apothecary-style in large glass jars. The picture above, and the previous one, represent the two end jars in a display of about a dozen or so in all. The little ones you see here, were the cheapest available here and even they were selling for well over $100 CDN a pound. The three shown in the dish in the very first picture actually came from the second or third jar in that range, and cost me just over $80 CDN for a mere half-pound.

traditional wolfberry dryin air drying

How to Soak, Clean, and Prepare Dried Abalone for Use

Abalone takes a lengthy soaking to reconstitute before being used in a recipe, followed by a preliminary cooking method such as braising or stewing. If you google the technique, you’ll find dozens of various time estimates for the two steps, but the length of each is mostly determined by the abalone’s size and degree of dehydration. In all circumstances, the first phase will take many days, while the second will take few hours.

One of my abalone, after four days of soaking, is shown here alongside a still-dry specimen for comparison. Because there was minimal difference between the third and fourth days in this case, three days of initial soaking would have been sufficient for Dried Abalone of this size.

Many recipes demand a large amount of water to be used, with the water being changed regularly. This is a waste because the water absorbs the flavor of the meat and can be utilized to make sauces. I only used enough water to keep my three abalones totally buried, and the end result was satisfactory despite the lack of water changes.

Dried Abalone must be cleaned once they have been reconstituted by soaking. The first stage is brushing and washing away any grit or detritus, while the second entails trimming away the dark region represented by the tip of the knife blade in the upper image. This is a piece of abalone entrails that should be thrown away.

Although the initial soaking softens and reconstitutes Dried Abalone, it still requires extra tenderizing; otherwise, it will be too chewy and tough to eat. The whole Abalone is sometimes boiled in water with other meats and aromatics to form stock (with the Abalone contributing to the finished flavor), but it’s also popular to just stew it in a pre-made stock, such as a neutral canned product or a simple Basic Chinese Chicken Stock.

traditional wolfberry dryin air drying


Some food such as abalone, scallops, and sea cucumber tastes better when it’s dry because it absorbs all the goodness and the flavors are more concentrated. However dried food requires a longer preparation time before it can be ready to cook. The followings are the preparation needed to do before it can be cooked.


1. collected fresh abalone, with clean seawater to wash away the surface of sand and other dirt. Hold a round head knife from the front of the shell where the meat is thick, the inner wall of the shell is inserted, cut off the meat column to take the meat out of the shell, remove the connected internal organs, and wash the flesh. Be sure to wash the abalone clean.

2. Mix the cleaned abalone meat with 6% refined salt and marinate it in a basin or VAT. After 8h, take it out and gently scrub it in seawater to remove the remaining melanin and mucus on the edge of the abalone meat and wash the asphalt.

3. first into the pot into seawater, water and abstaining meat ratio of 4:1 can be, until the water boiled to 80℃ or so, the abstaining meat into the pot, boil for about 6 minutes can be removed, into the cold open seawater, wash foam, drain water, can be out of the sun or pushed into the drying room.

4. The method of drying 1. Will be cooked abalone meat on clean the mat on the sun, with a big flat drying had better, abalone individual large, due to slow drying, easy to bad, so, when the sun, can be in individual large abalone meat back Angle cutting 2 ~ 4 knives, but cutting and constantly, keep large, full body, can accelerate the drying, so to prevent deterioration, make 3 ~ 4 times a day, until dry, can put in storage, storage after half-moon, when the wind again, is the finished product. Some areas, when going out bask in, use a line to wear cooked abalone meat string, hang on a cross-shaped wooden pole to bask in 4d or so, can be completely dry, but when wearing string, abalone meat need to maintain a certain gap between.

Drying method 2. In addition to the use of the traditional sun, can also use the Airtek air drying heat pump technology of abalone dryer. Closed-loop, condensing and dehumidifying, and heat recovery heat pump drying systems must be used. This dryer is mild, mimicking the cold and dry climate of winter, and the dried abalone is beautifully colored.

5. Heat pump type abalone dryer technical points. Adopt 30-40 degree relative low-temperature drying, the dried abalone has high quality, no breakage, good color and luster, good nutrient elements, good rehydration, large water, low noise, and stable operation cost. Pay attention to the temperature control, the temperature is too high, baked out of abalone color yellow. A cold air drying system can also be used in the processing of sea cucumber, squid, cuttlefish, croaker, eel, herring, scallop, flower glue, shark fin, seahorse, tilapia, Barron fish, and other aquatic products.

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