Monday, January 22, 2007


When it comes to food, I'm a typical Asian. I love all the weird things that Asians eat, from chicken feet to pig's brain. I also love to eat the expensive things like lobster, crab, sea cucumber, fish stomachs and abalone.

Australia has some of the best abalone in the world. They used to be so cheap here, around $5 a kilo 20 years ago. The Asians couldn't eat enough of them since they are so expensive in Asia. However, Australian businessmen have caught on and know there is a massive market in Asia for abalone so the price has gone up dramatically. A decline in stock due to illegal fishing has also driven the price up. Organised gangs now don't deal in drugs, they deal in abalone. The rewards are as high as drugs, but if you get caught, the penalty is a thousand times less. Black lip abalone now cost over $100/kg while green lip abalone go for about $300/kg. Therefore, eating abalone is a real luxury for most people. But Asians love it so much that they are still willing to spend that money to eat them.

I had some abalone with my family the other night. We consumed about 2 kilos, meaning that we ate over a few hundred dollars in one meal. But those abalone are so delicious. My mum has perfected the art of cooking them from quite a few attempts. It used to take a day and a half of cooking them in a pot, which meant watching them every so often and adding more water. This was so much effort and the results were not always perfert either. They were overcooked or undercooked and would not taste their bst. Nowadays, cooking the abalone in a pressure cooker for about 3 hours produces a perfectly tender abalone. Using chicken stock and a few dried scallops in the stock to cook the abalone provide even more flavour. All you need to do is get the pressure cooker going by bringing everything to the boil, then just leave it and wait. When the abalone are done, adding a little bit of oyster sauce, some mushrooms and baby bok choy and you have a perfect dish.

If you ever have a chance to try some abalone, I really recommend it. The texture is sort of like those giant cone clams, but firmer. The flavour is a very unique sea flavour, like a mixture between clams and oysters, but not really like that. It's very hard to describe what the flavour is, except to say that its delicious.


  1. Do you bring it to a boil and then simmer in the pressure cooker or leave everything boiling? Thanks!

  2. Hi, you bring the pressure cooker up to the boil and then turn the heat down as low as possible and leave things to cook in the pressure cooker for two hours. Let me know how your abalone goes.