Xo sauce

Xo sauce

1 1/2 cups
Earl Carter

XO sauce was created in Hong Kong. It’s made from premium ingredients and was named after XO cognac, which is much loved and revered in Hong Kong. It’s available ready made but the freshly made stuff will beat the stuff in a jar every time.


Quantity Ingredient
25g dried scallops
75g dried shrimp
125ml vegetable oil
5 red asian shallots, thinly sliced
15 garlic cloves, sliced
50g jamon or prosciutto, finely chopped
6 fresh long red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
6 dried long red chillies, seeded, soaked in water for 30 minutes, and finely chopped
10 dried bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon roasted shrimp paste
3 teaspoons sugar, to taste


  1. Soak the dried scallops and dried shrimp separately, each in 125 ml hot water, until they are plump (about 1 hour).
  2. Drain the scallops and reserve the soaking water. Tear the drained scallops into fine shreds, pat dry on paper towel and set aside.
  3. Drain the prawns and reserve the soaking water. Finely chop the prawns and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, cooking until pale golden in colour.
  5. Add the scallops and dried shrimp and stir continuously until golden brown, about 4–5 minutes.
  6. Stir through the jamón and fresh and dried chillies, frying for 1 minute before adding the shrimp paste, sugar and reserved scallop and shrimp water.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is fragrant and the water has completely evaporated, about 10–20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the oil. Transfer the solids to a sterilised jar, then pour in enough of the reserved oil to cover. XO sauce will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for 1 month.
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