• Abalone with Black Bean Sauce & Sticky Rice


Abalone with Black Bean Sauce

By Andrew Zimmern

Abalone are simple to prepare and profoundly delicious. You can take the meat out of the shell, slice thin, and eat raw. If you prefer your sea snails cooked, try throwing them on the grill for a few minutes and you’ll find it has takes on sweetness similar to a roasted scallop. Need an abalone source? Contact my pals at Big Island Abalone, they have the best product out there. This black bean sauce also pairs beautifully with oysters, fresh fish and even pork ribs.

Abalone with Black Bean Sauce & Sticky Rice



  • 12 pc medium size choice abalone (or 24 large fresh shucked oysters in shell)
  • 1 recipe Thai sticky rice
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil
  • 12 ounces black bean sauce, heated (recipe below)
  • 12 scallions, bottoms cut off and discarded
  • Crispy shallots (recipe below)

Crispy Shallots

  • 4 large shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 quarts peanut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Black Bean Sauce

  • 1/2 rack of baby back ribs
  • 3 whole dried red chilies
  • 1 cup minced scallions
  • 1  1/4 cups finely sliced leeks
  • 1  1/2 cups Chinese salted black beans (not the seasoned variety)
  • 3/4 cup hoisin
  • 3/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup whole smashed and peeled garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Golden Syrup
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Brown sugar to taste



For the Abalone

Rinse and dry the abalone.

Melt the butter and add the ginger. Cook over very low heat for 10 minutes to infuse the butter with the ginger. Be careful not to burn the butter.

Brush the abalone with the ginger butter.

Brush the scallions on both sides with peanut oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.

On a very hot grill, fan out the scallions so they just start to take on color and wilt. Cook on both sides. A little char is ok. Reserve and keep warm.

Brush the grill surface with peanut oil and place the abalone, flesh side down, on the grill. Cook 3 minutes. Baste with the ginger butter several times throughout the cooking process. Turn over onto the shell and cook 2 more minutes. The abalone should be warm when you put your finger between the meat and the shell. Let the abalone rest for a couple of minutes. Then use your fingers to pop the meat out of the shell, being careful not to smush the stomach and innards between the meat and shell.

To Plate

Make a ring of 2 scallions on each plate. Place one abalone in the shell on the scallions and lean the meat from another abalone (without the shell) against the first. Ladle 2 ounces of the black bean sauce over the top. Sprinkle with crispy shallots and drizzle with chili oil. Serve with sticky rice to mop up the sauce.

Get the recipe for Sticky Rice >>>

For the Crispy Shallots

Heat 2 quarts oil over medium-high until it registers 275°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Increase the heat to high and place a fine-mesh sieve over a heatproof bowl. When the oil registers 350°F on the deep-fry thermometer, add the once fried shallots and cook just until they are crispy and well-browned, about 1–2 seconds, watching carefully so the shallots don’t burn.

Immediately pour the oil and shallots through the sieve to stop the cooking, then transfer to shallots to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Reserve the oil for another use. The shallots will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 1 day, but they’re best the day they are made.

To Make the Black Bean Sauce

Place a large cast iron pot or heavy enameled casserole on high heat. Add oil and swirl. Add the ribs and brown on both sides.

Add the chilies and swirl to brown on all sides. DO NOT burn or blacken.

Add the leeks, scallions and black beans. Cook for a minute or two and add all remaining ingredients.

Bring to a strong simmer and stir for 3-5 minutes. Cover and cook for 90 minutes over low heat stirring occasionally.

Remove ribs. Pull meat and fat from ribs, discard all bones and cartilage and mince the meat. Return it to the pot. Stir. Skim off accumulated fat. Sauce should be a rich consistency, and if need be, can be simmered more at this point.

Adjust for salt (soy) or sweetness (sugar).

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