Chinese Food

How to make XO sauce – a comprehensive guide

XO sauce is a popular Chinese-American dish made with oyster sauce and sugar. It’s often used as a condiment for fried rice, egg rolls, and other dishes. Here’s how to make it at home!

The how to use xo sauce is a comprehensive guide for how to make XO sauce. It includes detailed instructions and pictures.

With a strong savory taste condensed from dried scallops, ham from Jinhua, and dried shrimps, XO sauce is the most valued Cantonese condiment. 

The XO sauce is named after the XO (extra-old) cognac that is popular in Hong Kong. Although the term is misleading since it does not include cognac, this kind of dish description is common in Chinese cuisine to convey excellence. It merely implies that the sauce is precious and costly, similar to an XO cognac.

The majority of individuals purchase their XO Sauce, which is very expensive. Furthermore, you must accept a milder taste than the handmade version, which utilizes higher-quality components. You may enjoy it at a fraction of the price if you prepare it yourself.

It’s worth noting that this article may contain affiliate links. For additional information, please read my privacy statement. I may get compensated if you buy anything after clicking on one of the links in this article. Qualifying purchases earn me money as an Amazon Associate.

XO sauce is the most valuable Cantonese condiment, made with expensive ingredients with an intense savory flavor concentrated from dried scallop, Jinhua ham, and dried shrimps. Most people buy their XO Sauce, which is expensive. In addition, you have to settle with a toned-down flavor than the homemade type that uses higher quality ingredients. If you make it yourself, you can enjoy a fraction of the cost.

What is XO sauce and how do you create it? 

XO sauce has a deep sweet, smoky, and salty flavor with a rich umami flavor. This condiment’s flavor will overpower any meal. To enhance the taste, dried scallops, Jinhua ham, and dried shrimp are deep-fried and then seasoned with wine and soy sauce. Finally, the sauce is reduced to a semi-dried, chunky, extremely concentrated, umami-packed ‘sauce’ floating in oil.

1. XO sauce’s main components

For XO sauce, there are no fixed recipes. Most recipes, however, call for a trio of common ingredients: Jinhua ham, dried scallops, and dried shrimp.

ham from Jinhua ()

Jinhua ham is a kind of Chinese ham that originated in Jinhua (sometimes romanized as Kinhwa), which is situated in Zhejiang Province in eastern China. It’s a kind of dry-cured ham that’s extremely salty and has a strong bacon flavor. In certain cases, Jinhua ham may not be accessible, in which case Smithfield ham or bacon will suffice.

Jinhua ham is the specialty Chinese ham that originated from the city of Jinhua (also romanized as Kinhwa), located in the center of Zhejiang province in eastern China. It is a type of dry-cured ham which is very salty with an intense bacony taste.  Jinhua ham may not be available at some places, and the Smithfield ham or bacon is the closest substitute.

Conpoy (/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

scallops that have been drieds are a common component in Cantonese cuisine, and they’re often used to make excellent stock and other high-end banquet meals. Because it is very hard, you will need to soak it for a long time to soften it. It has a deep umami flavor and a fragrance that is similar to other sea-cured meats such as dried shrimp. Glycine, alanine, and glutamic acid are among the amino acids that contribute to the intense taste.

The dried scallop is a popular (and expensive) ingredient in Cantonese cuisine, often used to prepare superior stock and other expensive banquet dishes. You need to soak it for a prolonged period to soften it as it is pretty hard.  It has a rich umami taste and smells reminiscent of other sea-cured meat like dried shrimp.  The highly concentrated flavor is mainly from amino acids such as glycine, alanine, and glutamic acid.

Shrimp that has been dried

Shrimp that has been dried is a dried seafood that is similar to dried scallop but is more frequently used since it is less expensive. It’s sun-dried shrimp that have shriveled to the size of a fingernail. It has a unique taste and is filled with umami, similar to scallops. Although it must be soaked before use, the time needed is less than that for dried scallop.

Other dried seafood components are included in some XO sauce recipes, but I don’t use them in this one. If you like, you may include dried fish and dry anchovies, for example.

Dried shrimp is also used to make sambal tumis, a famous Malaysian chili sauce. The recipe may be found here.

Dried shrimp is packed with umami, just like scallops, but with its distinct flavor. Again, you need to soak it before use, but the time required is shorter than dried scallop.

2. XO sauce’s secondary components

Shallots, garlic, and red chilies are the three secondary components of XO sauce.

The aromatics of shallot and garlic give the sauce substance, while the red chilies provide spice.

Cut the shallot and garlic into tiny dice by hand. Because crushed garlic would burn rapidly when deep-frying, I would not use a garlic crusher to mash the garlic.

Cut the red chile into tiny pieces in the same way. If you don’t want the sauce to be overly spicy, remove the seeds once more.

3. Prepare the dry ingredients by soaking, steaming, and chopping them.

Preparation should begin with soaking the dry materials ahead of time.

Dried scallop

Because dried scallops are very hard, they must be soaked for many hours or overnight. If you don’t soak it long enough, steaming it till soft takes a long time.

The amount of time needed is determined on the length of time the scallop has been soaking and the size of the scallop. After soaking, steaming the scallop for 45 minutes softens it to the point where it may be readily shredded into separate pieces. You may shred one scallop at a time to determine when the remainder of the scallops should be steamed.

Remove it after it has softened and let it cool until you can handle it with your hands. After that, shred each dried scallop into tiny pieces. It will take some time, and the procedure will be accelerated if the scallop is delicate and sensitive. 

Jinhua ham

Steam the dried scallop with the Jinhua ham, which has been cut into half-inch thick pieces. Because the ham is too firm to cut into tiny pieces, steaming it will soften it.

In twenty minutes, the ham will soften. However, I steam the ham with the dried scallop for much longer than fifteen minutes, which has no effect on the ham’s result.

Remove the ham from the pan and dice it into tiny pieces.

Dried shrimp

Because dried shrimp is softer than dried scallops, it just has to be soaked for fifteen minutes. It is not required to steam the vegetables. Drain the dried shrimp after soaking and cut it into rice grain size pieces.

4. To bring out the taste of the ingredients, deep-fry them.

Deep-frying the majority of the ingredients is the next stage in making the XO sauce.

About 600ml vegetable oil is used. Although it seems to be a large amount of oil, it is required because:

  • The dried scallop, Jinhua ham, dried shrimp, shallot, and garlic must all be deep-fried. 
  • The oil is needed to keep the sauce stable during storage, ideally enough to coat all of the components and prevent oxidation so that it may be stored for a long period.
  • The oil has a strong taste. As a result, if the recipe calls for XO sauce, you won’t need any additional oil for cooking or seasoning.

The steps are as follows:

  • In a wok or a big pan, heat the oil.
  • Preheat the oil to about 150 degrees Celsius/300 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the scallops, shrimp, and onions contain water, they will produce a lot of bubbles, and the oil level will increase quickly after they are added to the heated oil. As a result, moderate heat is required to prevent the oil from expanding and overflowing from the wok.
  • Deep-fry the scallops, Jinhua ham, and dried shrimp first, then add the onion and garlic. Because the scallop, ham, and shrimp have varying water content, I recommend deep-frying them individually. As a result, they must be deep-fried for a varied amount of time until they are light golden, somewhat crispy, and dry. The time needed for each one is usually about five minutes, although it varies depending on how much water is left after draining and steaming. As a result, instead of setting a timer, it’s better to pay attention to the texture. When these three things seem dry, somewhat crispy, and light brown, they are done. It should have the texture of gently cooked bacon.
  • Remove one of them using a wire mesh strainer after you’ve done deep-frying it to drain the oil. After that, transfer it to a different pan and deep-fry the next item.
  • Deep-fry the shallots, garlic, and chilies after you’ve finished deep-frying the scallops, ham, and shrimp. Deep-fry the shallots in the oil for approximately five minutes before adding the garlic. Garlic should be added last since it has a lower moisture content and changes color fast. Continue to deep-fry until the shallots and garlic begin to become brown in color. After that, add the red chilies and continue to cook for another minute before turning off the heat.

XO sauce is the most valuable Cantonese condiment, made with expensive ingredients with an intense savory flavor concentrated from dried scallop, Jinhua ham, and dried shrimps. Most people buy their XO Sauce, which is expensive. In addition, you have to settle with a toned-down flavor than the homemade type that uses higher quality ingredients. If you make it yourself, you can enjoy a fraction of the cost.

5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper well with salt and pepper and simmer until it is completely dry.

Because the XO sauce is intended to be a condiment and part of the seasoning for stir-frying, it has to be highly seasoned. By tasting it alone, you may think it’s excessively salty, but it’s not.

  • In a saucepan or skillet, combine the fried scallops, ham, and shrimp. After steaming, season with Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and the ham and scallop essence.
  • Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Return all of these ingredients to the pan with the fried shallots, garlic, and chilies.
  • If you want it hot, you may now add some chili powder. Chili powder also gives the oil a redder, more attractive appearance. 
  • Continue to cook it over low heat until the water has completely evaporated.

It’s time to make the XO sauce!

Instructions for making the finest XO Sauce

I’d like to offer a few pointers on how to improve the odds and make it a success:

  • Dry sherry may be used in place of the Shaoxing wine.
  • If Jinhua ham is unavailable, use country ham or bacon.
  • You must soak and steam the dried scallops for a sufficient amount of time. If you discover that the dried scallop is too hard after preparing the sauce, you may rescue it by adding a little quantity of water to the sauce and simmering it until it is soft enough. In this instance, be sure that all of the additional water has evaporated, since the finished product should not include any water.
  • The dried scallop, ham, and dried shrimp quantities may all be changed. Salted fish and dried anchovies are other popular additions.
  • Because this is meat to be eaten with other foods rather than served alone, the sauce should be flavorful and salty.
  • You choose how many chillies to use depending on your desired degree of spice. I prefer to add some chili powder to the sauce since it gives it a nicer color. The vivid red hue of Kashmiri chili powder is ideal for this purpose.

What is the best way to utilize XO sauce?

XO sauce may be used in a variety of ways. Fried rice, noodles as a topping for steamed fish, and tofu are just a few examples of popular uses. You can also use the sauce to stir-fry any meal and sprinkle it on top of roasted veggies.

Storage

XO sauce may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month. Ascertain that there is enough oil to completely immerse all of the solid components. If you want to preserve it for a longer period of time, you may freeze it. 

20-minute prep time

1 hour 15 minutes to cook

1 hour and 35 minutes total

Ingredients

A list of ingredients

B Ingredients

C Ingredients

Instructions

Soaking and steaming are two methods of preparing food.

  1. Soak the dried scallop in water for at least an hour. After that, steam the scallops for 45 minutes to soften them. Remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool. After that, shred each dried scallop into tiny pieces. 
  2. Steam the dried scallop with the Jinhua ham, which has been cut into half-inch thick pieces. The ham should next be diced into tiny pieces.
  3. For fifteen minutes, soak the dried shrimp. Drain the dried shrimp and cut it into rice grain size pieces.

Deep-frying

  1. Preheat the oil to about 150 degrees Celsius/300 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  2. Begin by deep frying the scallops, Jinhua ham, and dried shrimp one by one. Remove each one before moving on to the next one in the deep fryer. Each one should be deep-fried until it is slightly brown, crispy, and dry.
  3. The shallot and garlic should be diced into tiny pieces.
  4. Remove the seeds from the red chile and cut it into tiny pieces.
  5. Deep-fried the shallots for approximately five minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the color becomes brown. After that, add the red chilies and continue to cook for another minute before turning off the heat.

Season the sauce

  1. In a pan, combine the fried scallops, ham, and shrimp. After steaming the ham and scallops, season them with Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and leftover extract.
  2. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Return it to the pan and combine it with the fried shallots, garlic, and chilies.
  3. If you prefer it hot, add some chili powder. 
  4. Continue to cook it over low heat until the water has completely evaporated.
  5. It’s time to make the XO sauce!

Products to Consider

I earn money from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate and as a member of other affiliate programs.

Information about nutrition:

Yield:

10

Size of Serving:

1 tbsp. per serving 741 calories 66 g total fat 8g Saturated Fat 1 gram of trans fat 53g of unsaturated fat 64 milligrams of cholesterol 1299mg sodium 18g carbohydrate 2 g fiber 5 g sugar 20 g protein

XO sauce is a hot and spicy sauce that originated in Taiwan. It can be made with or without garlic, and it has many variations. This guide will tell you how to make xo sauce from scratch. Reference: xo sauce ingredients.

{“@context”:”https://schema.org”,”@type”:”FAQPage”,”mainEntity”:[{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”What do you put XO sauce on?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
XO sauce is a popular dipping sauce for fried chicken. It is made by mixing soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”How is XO sauce made?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
XO sauce is a type of hot sauce that is made from dried red chiles, vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt and other spices. The ingredients are mixed together in a pot until the mixture becomes thick.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”How do you preserve XO sauce?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you a detailed answer.”}}]}

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you put XO sauce on?

XO sauce is a popular dipping sauce for fried chicken. It is made by mixing soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.

How is XO sauce made?

XO sauce is a type of hot sauce that is made from dried red chiles, vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt and other spices. The ingredients are mixed together in a pot until the mixture becomes thick.

How do you preserve XO sauce?

I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you a detailed answer.

Related Tags

  • how to make xo sauce youtube
  • momofuku xo sauce recipe
  • xo sauce marinade
  • substitute for xo sauce
  • xo sauce noodles

Popular Articles

To Top
Asian Food Fiesta