XO Cauliflower


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6


Appears in

Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking

By Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

Published 2009

  • About

This recipe is an example of Hong Kong innovation. The cauliflower, which likely originated in Asia Minor and was later grown throughout the Middle East, moved eastward to China, where its Chinese name translates to “cabbage flower, ” both a descriptive and an accurate name for this member of the cabbage family. It remained for Hong Kong chefs to remove this import from a pot of boiling water to this intensely flavored dish, made with the territory’s own XO sauce.


  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • cups tightly packed small cauliflower florets (1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons XO Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chicken Stock, if needed


To water-blanch the cauliflower, in a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and baking soda (if using). When the water returns to a boil, add the cauliflower and blanch for 1 minute. Immediately turn off the heat and plunge the cauliflower into ice water to halt the cooking. Drain well and reserve.

Heat a wok 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 ginger and salt and stir briefly. Add the XO sauce and stir to mix well. Add the cauliflower and Stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until well coated with the sauce. If no liquid is visible in the wok, add the stock. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and very hot.

Turn off the heat, transfer to a heated plate, and serve.