Home-Made XO Sauce
Sang Yoon, Father's Office, Los Angeles "Making it is a real labor of love; you have to let the dried seafood soak up water before finely chopping it with the aromatics and cooking the mixture to incorporate the flavors. But it's so worth it." Read the complete SAVEUR 100 story ». Todd Coleman

With the addition of lemongrass, Los Angeles chef Sang Yoon brings a floral Southeast Asian note to boost the deep umami flavor of this luxurious Chinese sauce. Stir XO sauce into stir-fries or add it to a wok with fried crabs or shrimp.

Yield: makes About 1 Cup


  • 1¼ oz. dried scallops
  • ½ oz. dried octopus
  • ¼ oz. dried shrimp
  • ⅛ oz. dried mackerel
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, stemmed, tough outer leaves discarded, inner core chopped
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
  • 1½ tbsp. dark brown sugar or palm sugar
  • 1½ tbsp. fermented bean paste (dou ban jiang)
  • 1½ tbsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ cups peanut oil
  • ¼ cups dark Asian sesame oil


  1. Combine dried seafood in a medium bowl and cover with warm water; let soak until soft, about 1 hour. Drain seafood and transfer to a food processor along with the garlic, lemongrass, and shallot. Process into a coarse paste. Add wine, sugar, bean paste, and soy sauce and pulse to combine.
  2. Heat peanut oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add seafood mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add 1⁄2 cup water and cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 5 minutes more. Stir in sesame oil and transfer mixture to a clean jar; let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.