Prawns barbecued in XO sauce

"A nod to the old 'shrimp on the barbie' cliché. I love clichés," says Shaun Kelly. "Don't worry if there's too much XO sauce - it keeps well and does a good job of making most things better. Peel the prawns or leave the shells on - I prefer them shell on, but it's your call." Start a day ahead to soak the prawns and scallops.

You'll need

6 uncooked king prawns, deveined   XO sauce 75 gm dried prawns (see note) 25 gm dried scallops (see note) 250 ml (1 cup) grapeseed oil 75 gm (about 14) garlic cloves, grated 75 gm (about 3) golden shallots, grated 50 gm saucisson or salami, finely diced 25 gm (about 2) long red chillies 5 gm shrimp paste, roasted (see note) 2 tsp grated bottarga (see note)


  • 01
  • For XO sauce, soak prawns and scallops in separate bowls overnight in 125ml cold water, then drain, reserving liquid, and finely chop prawns and shred scallops. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat, add prawns and stir-fry until golden (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add scallops and stir-fry until golden (1-2 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to prawns. Add garlic and shallot to oil and stir-fry until just coloured (2-3 minutes), then transfer to prawn mixture with a slotted spoon. Add saucisson and chillies to wok, fry for a moment, then add shrimp paste, prawn mixture and reserved soaking liquid (be careful, hot oil will bubble and spit) and stir occasionally until fragrant and almost all the water evaporates (25-30 minutes). Stir in bottarga, transfer to a sterilised jar (see cook’s notes p192), cool and refrigerate until required. Makes about 375ml. XO sauce will keep for up to a month.
  • 02
  • Soak bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes and heat a barbecue to hot. Thread prawns onto skewers, brush with oil from the top of the XO jar and marinate for 30 minutes, then grill until pink (5-6 minutes). Serve with more XO sauce.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Additional Notes

Dried prawns, dried scallops and shrimp paste are available from Asian groceries. To roast shrimp paste, wrap in foil and roast at 200C until fragrant (4-5 minutes). Bottarga is available from select fishmongers

You might also like...

Alistair’s secret barbecue sauce


Poached eggs with creamed corn and green chilli relish

Egg, spinach, rocket and feta breakfast tart


Grilled peaches with sherry and apricot-delight ice-cream

Lemon and raspberry iced tea


Ginger beer with lime

Pineapple-jerked pork neck with crushed pineapple relish and black bean and rice salad


conversion tool