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Pippies in XO

Inspired by Billy Kwong's mussels in XO and black bean.

You'll need

1 kg pippies 2 tbsp peanut oil 3 red shallots, quartered 5 cloves garlic, crushed 40 gm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways 1 tbsp salted black beans (see note) 2 tbsp XO sauce (see note) 50 ml Shaoxing wine 2 tsp light soy sauce 100 ml chicken stock 1 tsp sugar 2 long red chillies, halved lengthways 3 green onions, cut into 5cm lengths To serve: sprigs of coriander


  • 01
  • Heat a wok over high heat, add 150ml of water and bring to the boil. Add pippies, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, removing pippies as they open. Drain and reserve.
  • 02
  • Heat oil in wok over high heat, add shallots, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes, add black beans, XO and Shaoxing and simmer for 2 minutes. Add soy, chicken stock and sugar and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add pippies, chilli and green onion, toss to combine and serve garnished with coriander.

Note XO sauce is made from dried seafood such as scallops and chilli. XO and salted black beans are available from Asian grocery stores.

While oysters, mussels and scallops receive their fair share of attention, there's a bevy of other shellfish, too, such as pippies, cockles and clams, which promise plenty of pleasure on the plate. These daintier varieties, along with mussels, should be purchased alive. You can check their condition by tapping any open shells - they should close immediately. They're sometimes sold sandless (that is, purged of sand), but if they're not, you'll need to purge them. Do this by soaking in salted cold water for about an hour. Discard any shells that don't open during cooking. While fresh scallops are available to restaurants, they're harder for home cooks to lay their hands on. Look for examples with plump flesh and always buy them fresh rather than frozen. If you can't find shellfish at your local market or fishmonger, give your local Chinatown a go.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Full-bodied rosé.

Featured in

Aug 2007

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