Considered the emperor of all sauces in Hong Kong, the famous XO sauce is served at gourmet restaurants and is made with high quality seafood ingredients primarily consisting of dried scallops and shrimps and dry-cured ham from the city of Jinhua. The brininess of the seafood and ham is balanced with the fragrant sweetness of fried shallots and garlic. Dried chili peppers give it a lively kick that intensifies the flavors of the sauce. Not only is it a deliciously addictive condiment, it also adds incredible complexity to rice and noodles dishes.
There’re named brands, like Lee Kum Kee selling this sauce at $10 for 2.8 ounces. The product is decent, but too pricy. Andy can finish the whole jar after 3 meals. So you might wonder…how can i use this sauce after all this hard work? Andy often eats a lot of it with rice along with other dishes. I often add it to stir fried rice and noodles.
Traditional XO sauce includes red chili peppers. If you can’t deal with the heat, red banana peppers or sweet peppers work fine for enhancing the colors and flavors.
If you can’t find Jinhua ham in local asian markets, use serrano ham or prosciutto as substitutions. Freeze it if you make a huge batch so you can enjoy it anytime. Enjoy!
XO Sauce (Chinese Seafood Chili Sauce)
- 340 g Dried Shrimp
- 340 g Dried Scallops
- 5 oz Cured Ham
- 0.5 oz Thai Chili Pepper
- 1 cup Minced Garlic about 2 heads
- 1 cup Minced Shallots about 8 large shallots
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Rinse the dried shrimp 1 to 2 times. In two separate bowls, add warm water to soak the dried shrimp and scallops for 2 hours.
Chop the ham in a food processor, pulse it about 6-8 times. Prepare a steamer and bring the water to boil. Put the ham and scallops into the steamer for 10 minutes.
Chop the following ingredients in a food processor SEPARATELY: garlic, shallots, dried shrimps and thai chili peppers.
In a wok or large saucepan, heat 5 cups of vegetable oil to 250 degrees. To test the temperature, dip a wooden chopstick into the oil. Once you see small bubbles floating up, deep fry the shrimps, ham and scallops for 5 minutes, then set aside.
In another saucepan, heat 2 cups of vegetable oil to 250 degrees. Deep fry the garlic and shallots for 5-7 minutes. If it starts turning slightly golden, add the chili peppers and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the rest of fried ingredients from step 4 back to saucepan.
Add dark soy sauce, sugar, shaoxing rice wine, sesame oil, oyster sauce and fish sauce. Mix well.
Once it's cooled down for 10 minutes, transfer to a sterilized jar. Make sure there's enough oil to submerge the ingredients so that it doesn't spoil easily. Refrigerate it.