Chinese XO Sauce (Quick Cheater's Version)

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Chinese XO Sauce 7


My boss gave me a jar of housemade Chinese XO sauce from Mission 261 - San Gabriel, a gift from one of the students' parents. It is a popular seafood sauce used in Cantonese stir-fried or fried rice dishes. So called because XO (extra old) cognac is the very best, and so this sauce was with its generous use of dried scallops, dried shrimp, and cured ham. The dried seafood gives the sauce a deep savoriness that flavors pretty much anything you put it on or cook with it.

I'm not ashamed to say I polished off that jar within days, stir-frying it with cabbage, cucumbers, and plain rice. And while it was sooo, sooo very good, XO sauce can also be quite expensive, easily costing about $20 for a small jar of the really good stuff.

The knock-off version I made with Shisito Peppers with Chinese XO Sauce wasn't half-bad and far, far cheaper. I tend to make small batches of stir-fry sauces, just enough for each dish, simply because I have so many fermented, soy, fish, shrimp and other sauces that they take up a whole shelf in my fridge and the counter beside my stove. So this really is a recipe for a cheater's version of XO sauce, something to whip up in minutes for dinner with ingredients that I usually already have in my kitchen.

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