This is one of the many ways in which Hong Kong chefs use XO sauce as the dominant flavoring ingredient in a recipe. The dish is made with what local chefs often call a “dry” sauce because the recipe contains no stock and the XO sauce and all of the other ingredients are absorbed by the shrimp as the dish cooks. A small amount of water in the sauce keeps the mixture moist, but it evaporates in the cooking. The shrimp are first blanched in stock to seal them, which does not affect their “dryness.”
To make the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and reserve.
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail segments intact, then clean them (see instructions).
To stock-blanch the shrimp, place the stock and ginger slice in a wok and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and blanch for 30 to 40 seconds, or just until they begin to turn pink. Turn off the heat, remove the shrimp with a Chinese strainer, and drain well over a bowl. Reserve. Empty the stock into a bowl, remove and discard the ginger, and reserve the stock for another use.
Dry the wok with paper towels, then heat it over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the peanut oil and, using a spatula, coat the wok with the oil. When a wisp of white smoke appears, add the minced ginger and stir briefly. Add the shallots and Stir-fry for 1 minute, or until they soften. Add the XO sauce and Stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Add the shrimp and Stir-fry for 1 minute, or until they are well-coated with the XO sauce. Stir the reserved sauce and drizzle it over the shrimp. Stir to mix until the shrimp are well-coated. Stir the starch-water mixture, pour it into the wok, and stir just until any liquid thickens. The shrimp should be well-coated, and there should be no moisture in the wok.
Turn off the heat, transfer to a heated dish, and serve.
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