A no-fuss, easy Chinese Canned Abalone Porridge recipe, also known as jook or congee, which can be made using store cupboard ingredients. So easy there's only 1 photo for the step-by-step instructions, it's the perfect comfort food and a delicious recipe for a weekday dinner.
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- Chinese Canned Abalone Porridge is deliciously comforting: the umami from the abalone and dried seafood gives it a real depth of flavor! A childhood dish for most Chinese (and Koreans!), it's also the perfect comfort food for winter and fall.
- It's a beginner-proof recipe that is super easy to make: I literally throw everything into the pot, and let it simmer till done, stirring every now and then when I pass the stove! Moreover, excluding water and salt etc, you only need 5 simple ingredients to make it!
- Goes well with so many Asian side dishes: From specific congee side dishes and toppings such as green onions to Chinese soy sauce pork or braised pork ribs, this King of porridges goes well with almost everything!
Note: We eat Abalone Congee throughout the year, but (any) abalone recipe is especially popular during Chinese New Year and special celebrations!
Abalone represents auspiciousness, and is considered a lucky dish. It's also a good way to use up all the extra canned abalone one may have bought or received over the holidays!
Some of the ingredients you will need are:
- White rice: I use long-grain jasmine rice but a way to shorten the cooking time is to use short-grain Japonica rice. It has more starch and will create the creamy congee texture more quickly. You can also use brown rice to be healthier, if you don't mind a chewier congee consistency and the longer cooking time. If you have leftover white rice, you can use them in these recipes.
- Chicken broth: Either homemade or good quality shop-bought/ bouillon. You will need about 9X the amount of rice if making this in a pot and if using long-grain rice (which needs more time to break down. If using short-grain rice, you can reduce the cooking time and use less stock.) (e.g. if you cook 1 Cup of rice you will need 9 Cups of liquid- if there isn't enough chicken stock, you can top up with regular water.) If using a rice cooker with a congee function, fill it up to the marking on the rice pot with everything but the abalone. Add that 5-10 minutes before the porridge is finished!
- Canned abalone: The benefit of using canned abalone is that you never have to worry about the rice porridge testing "fishy." I've used sashimi-grade shrimp for my shrimp congee before and, without marinating in shaoxing wine and ginger, the porridge tastes like the sea, in a not good way! You don't have this issue with canned abalone! (Don't forget to keep the abalone broth to season your abalone porridge and to use as seafood stock.) You can buy canned abalone at any self-respecting Chinese supermarket or online.
- Dried scallops (干贝 (gan bei) or conpoy): Rinse and soak them in hot water for 20-30 minutes to soften. Add the soaking water to the pot of rice later. If you want the scallop to be extra soft, you can steam them first. However, if you cook the porridge for at least an hour, the shredded scallops aren't too chewy even without steaming. If you're looking for recipes to use up your dried scallops, try this silkie chicken nourishing soup or 1 of these conpoy recipes.
For a complete list of ingredients, please scroll down to the recipe card!
Note: If you're looking for a congee recipe that doesn't require chicken stock (only uses water), try this dried scallop congee.
- For the chicken stock: anchovy stock (remember to remove the heads or you'll end up with a bitter soup) or kelp and shiitake mushrooms broth.
- For the canned abalone: fresh or frozen abalone (I used canned as I want this to be a store cupboard recipe, which can be easily made with items from your pantry.) If using live abalone, don't throw away the guts here as they're packed with flavour! I don't recommend substituting with dried abalone as it's horrendously expensive AND takes forever to soak- you'll need a whole new recipe!
- For the dried scallops: You can use dried squid, dried conch or any of these conpoy substitutes which will also give a nice savory flavor to the dish
- Goji berries: added because they're good for you, are sweet, and make the porridge pretty! (The health benefits are why we drink Goji Berry tea!) For more sweet and savory goji berry recipes, click here.
- Honey dates: added to make the abalone porridge naturally sweet. You can substitute with carrots cut into small pieces or red dates (jujubes.) The latter will give it a slightly herbal flavor and the former will make it a complete, nutritious, one-pot meal!
Note: Toss the soaking water into the porridge as well
🍲 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Add all the ingredients to the pot, and the soaking water for the scallops etc, except the abalone slices (and goji berries if using.)
- Bring to a boil. Stir every now and then.
- After 40-60 minutes, the water level should be just nice. You can add more stock/ water and boil for longer if you want the grains even more broken down but I'm happy with the consistency here!
- Add the abalone slices and goji berries and simmer for 5 minutes. Salt to taste.
- Switch off the fire, plate and garnish your abalone porridge with optional sauces such as sesame oil and white pepper. Note that white and black pepper are not interchangeable and that white pepper packs a punch so you want to sprinkle it on not spoon it in!!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: Remember to add the abalone meat in the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. This way, it poaches over medium or medium-low heat. You don't want to boil it on a high fire or the flesh will become tough and chewy. (Canned abalone is pre-cooked. We're merely heating it up here. The amount of time it needs will depend on the abalone flesh is.)
Tip #2: Save the abalone brine and add a bit to your abalone porridge, keeping the rest for stir-fries and soups. (Don't add all into the abalone congee, or it'll have a weird taste.) Some people don't like to do this because of concerns about preservatives and chemicals. However, there is a ton of flavour and it's a waste to throw it away! Moreover, the flesh has been marinating in the can of abalone for so long that I figure we've already absorbed all the chemicals if any!
Tip #3: There are many types of canned abalones- some have teeny ones and others have huge pieces. The 1 in my photo is a medium-sized piece from Eu Yan Sang. (Non-sponsored mention if you were wondering!)
Tip #4: For a heartier version of this porridge, add some shredded chicken or seafood ingredients such as fresh shrimps & fresh scallop (if feeling posh). Also, if you drink barley water, or roasted pearl barley tea, you can add the cooked barley grains to the jook.
Tip #5: Use a large pot- you don't want the water to spill out when the abalone chicken porridge is boiling!
Yes. Korean abalone porridge (Jeonbokjuk) differs from the Chinese one as it usually uses frozen or fresh abalone (the ones from Jeju Island are especially prized.) The guts are cooked with the rice, giving the Korean style porridge a more earthy flavour. (The guts add a ton of taste and good minerals to the porridge, which is why Korean abalone porridge still tastes great despite not using dried scallops.)
📋 Suggested Accompanying Recipes
These dishes go well with Abalone Porridge:
Enjoyed this Easy Porridge with lots of abalone? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & if you REALLY found this version of Chinese congee delicious, a comment would make my week! Thank you and have a great day!
Easy Chinese Canned Abalone Porridge
- Large pot
- Wooden spatula
- 1 Cup White jasmine rice, rinsed Rinsed- don't wash till the water runs totally clear as you need the starch for the congee! You can substitute with brown rice (longer cook time) or short-grain white rice (which can reduce the cooking time.)
- 9 Cups Chicken broth Substitute: chicken bouillon cube. Top up with plain water if you don't have enough chicken stock.
- 1 Can abalone Cut into small pieces or thin slices. Add 3-4 Tablespoons into the porridge and keep the rest for stir-fries or noodle soups.
- 5 dried scallops/ conpoy Soak in hot water for 10 minutes. If you don't have time to soak, don't worry- just boil the porridge over high heat for 1 hour and your scallops will be soft. These give the rice porridge umami and depth of flavour but are quite expensive. (They'll also add a bit of salt to the porridge so taste before seasoning later.) Feel free to substitute with dried conch, dried squid or 1 of these dried scallop alternatives.
- 3-5 Slices ginger
- salt to taste. You can substitute with fish sauce which is not traditional but I love the depth of flavor which goes well with abalone.
- 1-2 Tablespoon goji berries Optional. Goji berries are good for your eyes and both make the porridge a little sweeter which helps if you're using unsweetened homemade stock (Shop bought or bouillon cubes are usually heavily seasoned and may not need this.) S
- 1-2 honey date Opyional. Note that there is a seed in the middle of the date so you may want to cut it out when it has softened after cooking! Sweetens the porridge naturally and can be substituted with minced carrots or red dates. The red dates have a herbal flavor though.C
- Optional: sesame oil Drizzle on top of each bowl
- Optional: spring onions, sliced Click here for alternatives to green onions.
- Optional: think sliced ginger
- Optional: fried shallots
Quick & Easy method
- Add the rinsed rice, dried scallops (along with the soaking water), ginger, abalone juice, honey date (If using) and chicken broth/ water to the pot.
- Bring to the boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the fire if necessary. Let it simmer vigorously till cooked to your desired consistency. You may need to top up the water later. Stir it every now and then (or it will burn at the bottom of the pot.) (Cooking will take at least 30 minutes if using white rice.)
- 5-10 minutes before you switch off the fire, add the cut up abalone and goji berries (if using) to the pot and cook till it's warmed through. (If adding other proteins such as the fresh shrimps and scallops, add them with the abalone and simmer till cooked.)
- Taste and season with salt to taste. A pinch of white pepper is nice but remember the taste can be very strong so less is more here.
- Ladle into the bowls- if you wish, you can drizzle some sesame oil on top of each 1, along with some sliced ginger and spring onions (or fried shallots/ fried ikan bills.)
For a more fragrant porridge, do this extra step
- Heat up some oil in the pot then stir-fry the ginger and the white part of the spring onions till fragrant.
- Add the rinsed rice grains and stir fry for 1 minute. (If using carrots, add them at the same time.)
- Pour in all the chicken stock/ water, scallop soaking water, abalone juice and and soaking water / honey date (if using) into the pot. Add the soaked scallops and bring to the boil over high heat.
- The rest of the cooking steps follows the quick & easy version above.
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Mike Loh says
I love adding all the abalone broth as it boosts the abalone flavour.
Me too Mike! I can't use all of it for 1 pot of porridge so I save the extra in the fridge for soups and stews!
Tried this and it was delish, love the tip about the abalone juice as I didn’t know about it before
Hi Sera, glad the post helped you! Will share more abalone recipes soon 🙂