Thursday, February 5, 2015

Abalone and Spinach in Garlic Oyster Sauce

As a kid, I was not thrilled about eating vegetables. In fact, I avoided most of the greens for its bitter taste except spinach, for reasons unknown even to myself. I remember then I used to follow my dad to wedding and lunar 7th-month celebration dinners. One of the most common vegetable dishes served was spinach and I had always looked forward to this dish.

To this day, spinach is still the most commonly cooked vegetable in my household. Adding abalone elevates the vegetable dish to another level and this is an ideal dish for occasions like the coming Chinese New Year.


600g Chinese spinach (washed and cut into 7-8 cm long)
1 can abalone
10 cloves garlic (peeled)

For boiling the spinach
1 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

For the gravy
250ml chicken broth
1 tbsp Premium Oyster Sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp cooking oil
1/2 can of the abalone liquid


Cook the whole can of abalone unopened in water for 3 hours.  Cool and slice.  Keep half can of the liquid for later use.

Boil water in a big wok. Add oil, salt and sugar. Cook Chinese spinach in water for couple of minutes or until cooked.  Drained and put aside.

Arrange the abalone slices, slightly overlapping at the edges with one another, in a round bowl covering it completely.

Fill the bowl of abalone slices with the cooked spinach evenly. Press slightly to make it compact. Remove any excess liquid.

Fry the garlic cloves in cooking oil until golden brown. Put aside.

Boil chicken broth and half can of abalone liquid in wok.  Add the browned garlic cloves and oyster sauce. Bring to boil again and cook on low heat for 2 minutes.  Stir in corn starch mixture to thicken into gravy. Add dark soy sauce, chinese wine and a little oil and heat through.

Cover the bowl of spinach and abalone with the serving plate and flip over. Make sure the bowl is in the center of the plate. Remove bowl.

Arrange the garlic cloves on top of the pile of vegetable and abalone . Pour thickened gravy over. Serve.

I am linking this post to Cook and Celebrate CNY : 2015 organised by Yen of Eat Your Heart Out , Zoe of Bake For happy Kids and Diana of Domestic Goddess Wannabe.


  1. Hello Chef! I don't think I've eaten an abalone before, but being an adventurous diner I think I will give it a shot. The photo is already appetizing, I bet the dish is delicious.

  2. Hi Chef, your dish looks absolutely mouth-watering. I love it already without even tasting it! I agree, it makes an ideal CNY dish. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Alvin,

    When you are little, you must be a fan of Popeye and that's why you like spinach!!! This explains why you are a muscular man... LOL!

    A very beautiful and luxurious spinach festive dish... I'm the non-Asian Popeye will love this too :D


  4. Alvin, that's a very luxurious dish! I love the way it is presented :)

  5. Hi Alvin,
    My kids love spinach! They will love this wonderful dish of yours!
    Indeed this dish will be a mouth-watering and fabulous pick for the CNY dinner.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Alvin, thanks for joining us. Your presentation is top notch, restaurant-quality as always, and wow this sounds so luxurious!

  7. Yummmm!!!! Sigh!!! I can't eat abalone anymore...ever since I lost all but one of my molars, and some types of veg too. Still can manage meat though, this toothless tiger. Hehehehehe!!!!

    1. Hi Arthur! These abalone slices are tender, you don't need your molar.

  8. I really wish I can just reach out and grab a bite of this Alvin!

  9. Curious to know why must the can of abalone be cooked in the can unopenned for 3 hours? Always thought canned abalone is ready to consume straight right from the can.

    1. Yes, canned abalone is ready-to-eat but steaming it over low heat for 2-3 hours will result in a very tender texture.

  10. Can i steam abalone instead? How long?

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