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How to make XO Sauce

The condiment you can’t live without: XO sauce is where it’s at, my friends! This is the ultimate companion to anything and everything you make, from eggs and fried rice to soups and noodles.


How to make XO Sauce

10 minutes + overnight soaking
40 minutes
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

60g dried scallops*  

60g dried shrimp* 

1/4 cup Shaoxing wine 

1 cup vegetable oil 

1 thick rasher (about 70g) smoked bacon, cut into thin strips 

6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 

6 small Asian red shallots, roughly chopped 

3 long fresh red chillies 

1 tbsp oyster sauce 

1 tbsp light soy sauce  

2 tsp dark soy sauce   

1 tbsp brown sugar 

1 tsp good quality chilli powder, or to taste 

  • Step 1

    Place the scallops and the prawns in separate bowls. Pour 1 tablespoon of shaoxing into each bowl. Pour in enough water to cover. Place in the fridge overnight. 

  • Step 2

    Reserve ½ cup of the scallop soaking water. Then drain the scallops, leaving 2 tablespoons of the soaking water. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Transfer scallops and liquid into a food processor and pulse until coarsely shredded. Return to the bowl. Drain the shrimps and pulse in the food processor until finely chopped. return to the bowl. 

  • Step 3

    Process the garlic, shallot and chilli a food processer until finely chopped. 

  • Step 4

    Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Cook the bacon, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until starting to crisp. Add the scallops and cook, stirring often for 4 minutes or until crisp. Add the prawns and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes or until aromatic. 

  • Step 5

    Add the reserved soaking liquid, oyster and soy sauces, brown sugar, chilli powder and remaining tablespoon of Shaoxing. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often, or until the mixture is dark and jammy. Pour into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge.

  • Notes

    – Dried scallops, also known as conpoy, are a very special ingredient in Chinese cooking. It’s best to buy the larger ones available in herbal shops or specialty Asian stores. They need to be soaked and/or steamed. 

    – It is better to buy the more expensive larger dried shrimp. 

What is XO sauce?

XO Sauce is a sauce that gained its stardom in Hong Kong in the 1980s. It’s one of the kings of condiments. It has an intense umami deliciousness that levels up every meal and a depth of flavour that solidifies itself as one of my all-time fave additions to most meals.

XO Sauce is packed full of all the good stuff: dried seafood, crispy pork and a whole heap of aromatics like garlic, shallots and chillies. There’s a saltiness from the soy and a sweetness from the brown sugar that gives it the perfect balance, making this Asian sauce a must try if you’re after a condiment that’s good on everything.

How do I use XO sauce?

I’m a firm believer in putting XO Sauce on anything and everything! It truly does level up any dish. With home cooking, try adding it to plain steamed rice for an umami hit, plus noodles and soups. You can even use it to improve a sub-par takeaway.

Chuck it on fried eggs, steamed veggies, fried rice – anything your heart desires! The world is your oyster with XO Sauce, so prepare to fall in love with the salty, sweet, savoury stuff.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

What our customers say

Rated 5.0 out of 5
5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
Very good0%
March 3, 2024

Pure deliciousness!

Definitely not easy to find good quality and reasonably priced dried scallops in europe. But if you find all the ingredients, this receipe is a must! Back in the days we used to bring back the original XO-sauce from HK, but now i will keep this receipe to make this pure deliciousness by my own. I recommend to not shred the scallops and shrimps to much, so you get a better and a bit bitey texture, and/or you also can cook/fry the bacon a bit more for an extra crunchyness! All-in-all nothing else than a 5 out of 5 – thank you Marion!

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