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Asian Abalone with Lemongrass


Vietnamese abalone with lemongrass

Vietnamese abalone with lemongrass

Hank Shaw
Abalone is a prized food on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, and this is my take on a Vietnamese-style recipe that uses thin slices of abalone with lots of lemongrass and ginger. You can use canned abalone in this recipe, although fresh is better -- just make sure you pound the slices thin before cooking. Instructions are linked below. I like this spicy, but you can adjust the heat to your liking. Unlike most of my recipes, which serve 4, this one serves just 2.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 abalone, or 1 can of abalone
  • Bottom 2 inches of a lemongrass stalk
  • 5 thinly sliced scallions or green onions
  • 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • A 2-inch piece of peeled ginger, grated
  • 1-3 hot red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro
  • 1 t. corn starch
  • 3 T. mirin, or other Asian cooking wine
  • 3 T. oyster sauce
  • 1 T. Vietnamese fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 T. canola or peanut oil
  • 1T. Asian sesame oil
  • Steamed rice


Start with thinly sliced, pounded abalone. Instructions are linked below. Once you have your slices, slice them again into strips along the short axis of the larger slices to make bite-sized pieces.

Make sure your steamed rice is ready before you make this stir-fry.

To make the dish, begin by whacking the lemongrass stalk with the back end of your knife a few times, then slicing it very thinly into slivers. Chop the slivers into smaller pieces.

Heat the two oils in a wok or large frying pan over your highest heat for a minute or two. You want the pan really hot.

Toss in the lemongrass, green onions, garlic and chiles and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch with the mirin or other cooking wine and make sure there are no lumps.

Add the abalone to the wok and continue stir-frying for 30-45 seconds.

Add the grated ginger, the mirin-cornstarch mixture, the fish sauce or soy sauce, then the oyster sauce and mix well. It should thicken up a bit. If the mixture is too tight, loosen it with a little water.

Turn off the heat and toss in the cilantro, then mix well. Serve at once.

As this is a spicy dish, I'd recommend beer or better yet, a Southeast Asian limeade, which differs from a Western limeade in that it has a pinch of salt to go with the sugar. If you want wine, go with an off-dry Riesling or a Gewurztraminer.

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