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XO Sauce in a dish.
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5 from 4 votes

XO Sauce (XO 酱)

XO Sauce is the a luxurious sauce using PREMIUM ingredients. Enjoy a crispy and umami-packed condiment that lasts for months!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Soaking Time2 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dip, Sauce
Cuisine: Asian, Cantonese, Chinese
Servings: 20
Calories: 37kcal
Author: Jeannette


  • food processor (optional)


For The Simmering

  • 75 g / 1.7 lb dried shrimp (rehydrated and finely chopped)
  • 75 g/ 1.7 lb dried scallop (rehydrated and finely shredded)
  • 5 large chili (or any to your preference)
  • 1 bulb garlic (finely chopped)
  • 250 g / 0.55 lb smoked ham (finely chopped)
  • 100 g / 0.22 lb red shallot (finely chopped)

For The Seasoning

  • 2 US cup oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce (also known as toban djan)
  • 1 US cup scallop water (reserved from soaking the scallops)


  • Heat up the oil in a pan and add the shredded scallops in to fry for 5 minutes on medium heat or until golden and crispy. Pour the contents into a strainer and set aside for later.
  • Pour the oil back into the pot on medium heat and cook the garlic, chili and shallots for 3 minutes or until brown.
  • Add the fried scallops, shrimp and smoked ham and stir, then season with the salt, sugar, chicken powder and chili bean sauce.
  • Pour 1 cup of the scallop water in to simmer for 1 hour over low-medium heat or until it has reduced to your preferred consistency. Add the Shaoxing rice wine and mix for 2 minutes.
    Pro Tip: Stir every 5 minutes to avoid burning.
  • Transfer the XO Sauce into an air-tight jar and serve as is with your favorite savory dishes!


  • Use the scallop and shrimp liquid. Reserve all the water used for soaking the scallops and shrimp, then add it to simmer in the XO Sauce for extra umami. Just keep in mind that the more liquid you use, the more time you'll need to simmer.
  • Shred the scallops by hand. It's much easier to use a food processor to blitz it, but using your hands to pull each strand apart ensures you'll have more texture after frying it.
  • Simmer low and slow. This will help to bring out deeper flavors and let the ingredients infuse with each other.
  • This recipe is made using cured Jinhua ham, which can be hard to find outside of China. As a substitute, you can used smoked (or double smoked) ham or prosciutto.
  • You can get dried scallops and shrimp at Chinese dried goods stores. There will be a variety of types and sizes and generally the bigger, the more expensive. We opt for the medium to big ones.
  • We use a chili bean sauce (toban djan) for extra flavor, which we get in jars from Asian supermarkets.
  • Reserve the scallop water to add extra flavor. To do this, rinse the dried scallops and shrimp in cool water, then replace the water with a fresh batch. Let it soak for 2 hours or overnight and set the liquid aside after draining.


Calories: 37kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 483mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg