.

XO Sauce recipe

I’m recently back from a whirlwind week long trip to Guangdong province in China. The capital city Guangzhou is the home of Cantonese food and I am obsessed by many spectacular dishes I enjoyed there. Some were complicated like stuffed mud carp and a candy like crisp pork belly, and some were rather simple yet very compelling such as the congee I ate every morning topped with fried peanuts and some preserved vegetables. One of the simplest dishes I had was a pile of thin flat rice noodles tossed with vinegar, sesame seeds and a generous dollop of XO sauce. The savory, salty, fishy, hot and sweet ingredients in the sauce all meld together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.
xo sauce noodles
XO sauce was invented in Hong Kong, possibly Kowloon, in the 1980’s and there are many different recipes for it. The name XO means extra old, like you see on a very expensive bottle of cognac (popular in China). But there isn’t any cognac in XO sauce, although the dried seafood used in it is rather expensive. The sauce is primarily dried seafood and ham or sausage and pungent aromatics and while you can buy it, it’s extremely satisfying to make. Fortunately you can easily find all the ingredients for it easily in an Asian market. I found the dried shrimp and scallops in a refirgerated case with tofu and noodles. Use the absolute best quality you can find. 
This sauce is kind of crumbly and chewy. It’s super easy to make and just a pure umami bomb. Add it to fried rice, rice porridge, dumplings or noodles, steamed green vegetables or fish, or on anything you like! I’m thinking a jar of it would make a really nice gift this time of year but I wouldn’t blame you for keeping it all for yourself. My version of it is adapted from various sources primarily recipes by David Chang and Kylie Kwong. I first made David Chang’s recipe but I felt it had too much ginger and garlic. My version is closer to what I had in China and unlike Chang’s version mine includes shallots and Shaoxing wine. 
XO Sauce 
Ingredients

2 ounces dried shrimp, about 3/4 cup2 ounces dried scallops, about 1/2 cup

3/4 cup rice bran oil or other neutral flavored oil
1 cup thickly sliced Chinese sausage
1 Tablespoon dried red chile flakes
1/4 cup shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half if large
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
Instructions 
Place the scallops and shrimp in a medium bowl and cover with water allowing extra water since they will absorb most of it.. Cover the bowl and let sit overnight. 
Heat the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick or cast iron. In a food processor pulse the Chinese sausage until finely minced. Place the sausage crumbles in the oil and cook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile drain the scallops and shrimp, place them in the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Repeat the process with the shallots, garlic and ginger. 
Reduce the heat to very low and add the chile flakes and minced scallops, shrimp, shallots, garlic, ginger, Shaoxing wine and soy sauce to the pan. Stir the mixture and let the sauce cook over very low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should dry out and turn a deep redish golden color and have a thick sludge-like consistency. Remove from heat, let cool slightly then store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! 

.

DISCLAIMER: This image is provided only for personal use. If you found any images copyrighted to yours, please contact us and we will remove it. We don't intend to display any copyright protected images.

Leave a Reply

Walnut Crusted Chicken Breast – It’s all About the Nut Glue

I almost never order a nut-crusted entrée in a restaurant, since they usually use a sugary glaze to hold them on, and/or feature a too sweet nut, like pecan, or macadamia. That’s not an issue here; since we’re going with buttery, subtly bitter walnuts, held on with a very savory […]

Cheddar, Potato & SPAM® Soup

Cheddar, Potato & SPAM® Soup A hearty, comforting and autumnal warming soup!  Perfect soup for all the family!  SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham is the perfect quick and easy meat for a soup.  Serves 4-6 Prep time:  5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients 450g potatoes, peeled & diced 150g carrots, […]

5-Minute Fisherman’s Stew – Give or Take

Of course this Fisherman’s Stew takes more than five minutes to make, and I’m actually referring to the approximate cooking time once the seafood hits the pan, but as they say, it’s only false advertising if someone else does it. Besides, one taste and I’m sure you’ll forgive any temporal […]

Pear Clafoutis – Almost as Good as it Looks

It sounds odd to say that a recipe’s biggest problem is that it looks too good, but that’s sort of the case with this pear clafoutis. Through no fault of its own, this crust-less, custard fruit tart looks a lot sweeter, and richer than it actually is. So, please be […]

Bloody Mary Burrata – An Experiment in Liquefying Salads

I don’t think there’s actually a difference between a liquid salad, and a cold vegetable soup, but if there is, I’d like this Bloody Mary Burrata recipe to be considered the former. Especially since I already posted a gazpacho this summer. But regardless of what you call this strange hybrid, […]

Crispy Butcher’s Nuggets – Parts is Parts

While our homemade butcher’s nuggets won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts as the butcher shop, at least they won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts. Seriously, those folks will put anything into a sausage or meatball. All kidding aside, these crispy fried meatballs will have you wondering […]

Skippy® Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes

Skippy® Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes These light and fluffy peanut butter pancakes drizzled with peanut butter and jelly taste absolutely delicious.  The favourite, classic sandwich turned into the tastiest breakfast treat! Serves 4 Prep time:  10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients For the pancakes 200g plain flour 30g caster […]

All About Walnut Oil from La Tourangelle

La Tourangelle is a family-owned company that produces outstanding nut and seed oils, with heritage in the Loire Valley of France, an area known for nut oils. Their toasted sesame, roasted walnut, roasted peanut and roasted pistachio oils are all award winners. The company began in 2002 in Woodland, California […]

Chef John is On Vacation and More

That’s right! I’m on vacation for the rest of the week, and the beginning of the next, which usually means a lot of rest and relaxation, but not this time. That’s because Michele and I are going to be working harder than ever on a major, top secret personal project. […]

Chorizo, Red Pepper & Stilton Quiche

Chorizo, Red Pepper & Stilton Quiche This quiche is so easy to make and always goes down well, delicious served hot or cold. If blue cheese doesn’t take your fancy then you can use cheddar or any other hard cheese. Serves 8 Prep time:  10 minutes, Cooking time: 45-50 minutes Ingredients 225g […]