Kung Hei Fat Choy!! Time sure flies by, I can’t believe it’s Chinese New Year again. I wish you all a healthy and prosperous year of the sheep (or is it ram? or goat?).
Chinese New Year is about family gatherings, hearty meals, red pockets and many other traditions and customs. Bai lin is on the agenda and it is customary to bring gifts when you visit your relatives. In Hong Kong, it is common to gift chocolates (such as Ferrero Rocher) or a fruit basket. I’ve also noticed some friends buying canned abalone for the parents and elders, and I thought it was a nice gesture.
Hubby LOVES abalone (if you may refer to his birthday dinner at Tin Lung Heen), and once a year I would buy a can and cook it for a special occasion. This year, I made it for Valentine’s Day. Since V-Day was so close to CNY this year, the meal was also our own Nian Ye Fan (年夜饭).
We’ve tried a few brands of canned abalone, and our favorite is Ah Yat. It’s pricier compared to their competitors (I think we paid around $450 for a can of 10 pieces), but it’s well worth the premium. I know some people who just open up the can and serve the abalone as is. I personally like to heat up those babies and jazz up the canned sauce with a simple oyster sauce mixture.
Abalone and Chinese Lettuce
1 can of abalone (whole abalone)
2 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
In a small bowl, add the oyster sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Then add the water and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.
Pour the abalone and the sauce from the can into a saucepan and heat over medium-high for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce starts to simmer. Add the oyster sauce mixture and let simmer for another minute or 2, until the sauce starts to thicken.
Fill another saucepan with water and boil over high heat. Add the Chinese lettuce and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain the lettuce.
Plate the lettuce and lay the abalone over the bed of lettuce. Spoon some of the sauce over the abalone.
Serve and enjoy.
**I like to freeze the remaining abalone sauce in an ice-cube tray and use in other dishes later.