May 9, 2014

Abalone Steamed with Tangerine Peel 果皮蒸鮑魚

Abalone, chenpi, ginger, Orange Peel, recipe, steamed, Tangerine Peel, 果皮, 蒸, 鮑魚
By Published: 2014-05-09
Again we have to celebrate the glories of Hong Kong's access to fresh, fresh seafood!  Whenever we can we go to the Hong Kong local wet markets and are spoiled for choices and bargains amongst their amazing selections of fresh and live seafood.  It's always an interesting journey with the seafood varying day by day, depending on the fisher men's catch.  One day it may be a surplus of tenacled squid, the next a influx of deep sea shrimp and freshly shucked scallops.  

Today we found one of our favorite fish stalls awash in baskets of small fresh abalone and quickly grabbed a bagful for a great bargain.  It was time to cook Abalone Steamed with Tangerine Peel, or 果皮蒸鮑魚, an easy and delicious seafood treat!

Abalone, ginger, Orange Peel, recipe, steamed, Tangerine Peel, 果皮, 蒸, 鮑魚, chenpi
Abalone shells that my little girl insisted to keep - so pretty!

Abalone meat is seriously good, yes, I could even concede that it is 'ooh la la!'.  Sea sweet with a tender, slightly chewy texture that is so delightful to consume.  It pleases by being heartily meaty as well as delicately tasty.  Once you eat one, you'll want another, then another and then more.  There you go then, abalone are the potato chips of the deep sea!

The abalones that we bought were fresh, meaning live, courtesy of the Cantonese's obsession with seafood freshness.  Since I have been spoiled by living in Hong Kong and eating all this really fresh seafood, I find it really hard to go back.  When we go to other countries that use either frozen or not so fresh seafood (I'm looking at you USA!), it is hard not to make a face when trying the tasteless limp things served as shrimp, for example.  Fresh seafood is so sea sweet, a taste nirvana really, so it's worth the extra trek to procure.  

Today however, I must confess, with my lovely live abalones there was a moment of slight panic as one extra perky abalone kept turning around and round, for all the world looking like he was trying to get a good look at my face, to remember me and my impending crime.  But don't worry, those of you with tender hearts, after the usual treatment of a spell in the fridge before steaming, all the abalones were nice and hibernated.

Abalone, ginger, Orange Peel, recipe, steamed, Tangerine Peel, 果皮, 蒸, 鮑魚, chenpi
Before steaming

This traditional method of steaming the abalone pairs the abalone with two simple ingredients:  dried tangerine peel and ginger.  The dried tangerine peel, or Chenpi 陳皮, and abalone are a match made in food heaven.  The citrusy, slightly bitter flavor of Chenpi perfectly complement the subtle sea sweet flavors of abalone.  So much so, in fact, that it's hard to imagine eating abalone without tangerine peel!

Pssst...try making your own Chenpi 陳皮 at home!  It's easy and super satisfying!

The fresh ginger is, of course, de rigour for the Chinese method for steaming of any seafood, being used to balance and brighten the sea fresh flavors.

Abalone, ginger, Orange Peel, recipe, steamed, Tangerine Peel, 果皮, 蒸, 鮑魚, chenpi
You can get dried tangerine peel at your local wet market

It's so easy to prepare this dish!  Just wash your abalone, then let them rest in the refrigerator while you chop up your ingredients.  Get out your beautiful handmade bamboo steamer, put in the abalones, sprinkle over with your tangerine peel and ginger and steam away. 

 In about 8 minutes you'll be smelling a delicious aroma all around your house!  Add on chopped spring onions, then hot oil to release the aromatics, a splash of fine soy sauce and you're ready to eat!  Oh bother it, just writing about it and now I'm hungry!

Please let us know if you enjoyed our recipe!

Abalone, ginger, Orange Peel, recipe, steamed, Tangerine Peel, 果皮, 蒸, 鮑魚, chenpi
Abalone Steamed with Orange Peel Recipe  果皮蒸鮑魚
Prep time: 5 mins  Cook time: 8 mins



Rinse abalone well, place in steaming/serving dish, and put in refrigerator to keep cool.  Soak tangerine peel in hot water until soft enough to slice into matchsticks.  Slice ginger to matchsticks.  Cut spring onion to rounds.

Sprinkle ginger and tangerine peel evenly over the abalone.  When water is boiling place in steamer and cover.  Steam over high heat for 8 minutes.  

When done remove plate from steamer, sprinkle spring onions over and place to one side.  In a small pan heat up your oil until smoking.  Pour  slowly and carefully over all the abalone, allowing the hot oil to cook the spring onion.  Splash soy sauce over and serve hot!  



  1. Hahaha. I enjoyed reading your post about how the poor abalone was trying to identify you as his murderer... Or maybe try to get you to spare his life? The color on the inside of those shells are magnificent!
    I haven't eaten fresh abalone before just canned ones, and because they are sooo expensive, we only have them on Chinese New Year, sautéed with black mushrooms, lettuce and oyster sauce. Will try your recipe for next New Years.

    1. Glad you liked my little abalone tale, it really did happen like that you know! Hope you get a chance to try fresh abalone, it's really really good! ~ellen