XO Sea


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves /


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By Peter Gilmore

Published 2014

  • About

This is a great example of cultural osmosis. For years, whenever the Quay staff had something to celebrate as a team we would end up in Chinatown. By far the most popular dish was live pipis from the tank steamed and served with XO sauce. XO sauce appears to have originated in Hong Kong in the 1970s, where the chefs all tried to outdo each other with the best version. It usually contains a good amount of dried chilli, and many umami-rich ingredients such as dried Chinese ham, dried scallops, dried prawns, mushrooms, ginger and garlic. About a year ago I decided to make my own version, inspired by the universal love for this sauce.

To Finish

Heat 900 g (2 lb) of the clarified butter in a medium saucepan and bring to 70°C (160°F). Add the yabby flesh for 1 minute. Add the squid ribbons, sliced abalone, reserved clams and the sliced scallops. Stir to combine well and ensure even cooking. Cook for 1 minute further. All seafood should now be opaque in colour. Drain through a fine sieve.

Meanwhile, reheat the XO sauce to simmering point and heat the remaining clarified butter in a non-stick frying pan. Add all of the dehydrated XO garnish ingredients to the pan and cook over low heat to warm through.

To Plate

Place an even amount of the warm poached seafood in the base of each warmed serving bowl. Ladle over enough XO sauce to just cover the seafood. Garnish with an even quantity of dehydrated XO garnish ingredients. Serve.

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