"Everyone loves fried rice. Growing up, we'd have it twice a week, and even devoured it cold," says Kylie Kwong. "XO sauce takes it to another level, and although making it is an involved process, it's well worth the effort. It's a versatile fridge stand-by, too - try it on fried or poached eggs or tossed through stir-fried noodles. I think of it like having money in the bank. My advice is to bring it to room temperature before using it as a condiment to best appreciate its complex flavour. Begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the prawns and scallops for the XO sauce."
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp malt vinegar
- ½ tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 45 ml peanut oil
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 25 gm ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 750 gm steamed rice (4 cups)
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 160 gm bean sprouts (2 cups)
- 25 gm dried prawns (see note)
- 40 gm dried scallops (see note)
- 120 ml Shaoxing wine
- 5 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 large red shallot, coarsely chopped
- 180 ml peanut oil (¾ cup)
- 2 small dried red chillies
- 25 gm smoked bacon, rind removed, fat left on, finely diced
- 1½ tsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1For XO sauce, soak prawns and scallops in separate bowls overnight in 60ml (¼ cup) Shaoxing each. Drain, reserving liquid, and blitz prawns and scallops in a food processor. Process red chillies, garlic and shallot in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a wok until shimmering, then add dried chillies and fry, turning halfway, until blistered and slightly
blackened (1 minute). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reduce heat to medium, add bacon and the shallot mixture and fry gently, stirring often, to cook out the flavours (2-3 minutes). Add prawn and scallop mixture and fry, stirring frequently to prevent sauce catching on the base, until oil begins to separate out (4-5 minutes). Add reserved soaking liquid, stir gently for 2-3 minutes to cook out the alcohol, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring
occasionally, until sauce darkens (10-12 minutes). Add soy sauce, sugar and dried chillies and cook, stirring occasionally, until well combined (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a sterilised jar, cool and refrigerate until required. Makes about 350ml. XO sauce will keep for a month – the flavours will intensify over time.
- 2Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, 60gm XO sauce and 1 tsp sea salt flakes in a bowl.
- 3Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in a hot wok until surface shimmers, then add egg and cook without stirring until beginning to set. Fold egg onto itself and cook for 30 seconds, then repeat folding until almost set. Drain on paper towels.
- 4Add remaining oil to wok, then add onion and ginger and stir-fry until softened (30 seconds to 1 minute). Add Shaoxing and cook for 30 seconds, then add XO sauce mixture and stir-fry for a minute. Add rice and stir to evenly coat grains in sauce, then cook without stirring until a light golden crust forms on the base (2-3 minutes). Add spring onion and reserved omelette and stir-fry for a minute, breaking up mixture. Remove from heat, quickly toss in bean sprouts and serve.
Dried prawns and scallops are available from Chinese supermarkets.