Abalone is an auspicious luxury food item, as it signifies increasing abundance (年年’包’有余) in the coming year. Abalone is used in a wide variety of dishes, such as steamboat, pen cai, yu sheng and braised abalone with mushrooms. An all-time favourite abalone dish is this homely bowl of abalone chicken congee (or porridge depending on the texture you like). The congee is really sweet as it is simmered in an umami stock consisting of scallops, chicken and abalone broth.
- 8 dried scallops
- 400 g chicken breast
- 1 litre water, or as required
- 425 g canned abalone, sliced thinly; reserve the abalone broth from the can ( (200g drained weight)
- 8 pitted red dates (Jujube)
- 2 carrots, peeled, cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons ikan bilis, (dried anchovies)
- 1 cup rice
- 1.2 litres water
- 4 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnishing
- white pepper
- Rinse dried scallops and soak them in a bowl of hot water until softened. Shred the scallops and reserve the soaking water.
- Boil chicken in about 1 litre (1 qt) of water (or enough water to cover chicken) for 20 minutes. Take out the chicken and shred when cool enough to handle. Warm the abalone slices for 1 minute in the chicken broth using a slotted ladle. Strain the chicken broth. Set aside.
- Rinse rice until water runs clear, then add washed rice to a soup pot with the shredded scallops, red dates, carrots, ikan bilis and 1.2 litres (1.2 qt) of water.
- Bring to a boil. Leave the lid partially open and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir the bottom of the pot every now and then to prevent the rice from sticking to the base. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the rice turns to porridge.
- Add the scallops soaking water, abalone broth and chicken broth from step 1. Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes, until the porridge reaches a congee consistency. Top up with more chicken stock or hot water whenever needed.
- Ladle congee to serving bowls and top with abalone slices, shredded chicken, ground pepper and coriander leaves.