XO sauce

XO sauce

By
From
Have You Eaten
Makes
300 ml
Photographer
Billy Law

Invented in Hong Kong in the 80s, XO sauce is a highly addictive chilli sauce made using expensive ingredients like scallops and ham. This high-quality product was considered as prestigious as the french XO cognac, and hence the name. XO sauce goes well with tofu, fish, meats and vegetables, and is also a nice condiment to serve with noodles.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
50g dried scallops
80g dried shrimp
10g dried red chillies, seeded then soaked in hot water for 30 minutes until softened, then drained
2 large fresh red chillies, seeded
500ml vegetable oil, plus extra
1 garlic bulb, cloves finely chopped
50g french shallots, finely diced
100g panceƒtta or prosciuƒtto, finely shredded
salt, to taste

Method

  1. Put the dried scallops and shrimp in a bowl and add enough water to cover by about 2 cm. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to soak until they are rehydrated and plump, preferably overnight. Drain and set aside on paper towel. Put the scallops and shrimp in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped; they should still have a bit of texture. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Put the dried and fresh chillies in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped; you should be still able to see largish specks of chilli. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat half the vegetable oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium–high heat, add the scallops and shrimp and fry for 2 minutes, or until crisp. Add the chillies and fry for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining oil, the garlic, shallots and pancetta, turn the heat down to medium–low, and keep frying for another 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. The mixture now should be dark brown with a layer of red chilli oil on top. Season with salt, to taste.
  5. Turn the heat off and leave the sauce in the wok to cool to room temperature. Pour the XO sauce into a sterilised jar and cover with a layer of oil to keep its freshness. The XO sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
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