Are you looking for a substitute for XO sauce?
This luxurious sauce, known for its umami flavor and high-quality ingredients, can be difficult to find and expensive to purchase.
But fear not, there are alternatives that can be used in equal quantities to achieve a similar taste.
Oyster sauce and teriyaki sauce are readily available in most supermarkets and bring a salty, savory flavor to stir-fries and other dishes.
However, if you want to make a more authentic XO sauce, you may need to make it yourself using dried scallops, dried shrimp, and cured ham.
In this article, we’ll explore the best substitutes for XO sauce and provide tips on how to make your own homemade version.
So let’s dive in!
What Can I Substitute For XO Sauce?
If you’re looking for a substitute for XO sauce, there are a few options available. While nothing can quite replicate the unique flavor of this luxurious sauce, there are alternatives that can be used in equal quantities to achieve a similar taste.
One option is to use a mixture of chili oil, fish paste, and oyster sauce with finely chopped onions. This combination brings a similar salty, savory flavor to dishes and can be used as a substitute in stir-fries and other cooked dishes.
Another alternative is to use oil-infused chili sauces, which can also bring a similar flavor profile to XO sauce. These sauces are readily available in most supermarkets and can be used in equal quantities as a substitute.
However, if you want to make a more authentic XO sauce, your best option is to make it yourself using dried scallops, dried shrimp, and cured ham. While this may require some extra effort and time, the end result is well worth it.
Understanding XO Sauce
XO sauce is a rich and flavorful sauce that originated in Hong Kong. It is made from dried shrimp and scallops, salty Jinhua ham, shallots, garlic, chili, and oil. The name “XO” comes from the term “extra old,” which is used to describe high-quality aged cognac.
Due to its strong seafood flavors, there are not many great substitutes for this sauce. While some chefs recommend using a combination of chili oil, fish paste, and oyster sauce with finely chopped onions as a substitute, it may not provide the same depth of flavor as the real thing.
If you want to make a more authentic XO sauce, it’s important to note that most recipes require several hours of standing time and can be quite labor-intensive. The key ingredients are dried scallops and shrimp, which can be found at Chinese dried goods stores. However, these ingredients can be expensive and may need to be purchased in larger quantities.
Traditionally, XO sauce is made using cured Jinhua ham, which can also be hard to find outside of China. As a substitute, smoked or double-smoked ham or prosciutto can be used instead.
Why You May Need A Substitute
There are a few reasons why you may need a substitute for XO sauce. Firstly, the ingredients required to make this sauce can be difficult to find, especially if you don’t have access to Asian grocers or Chinese food markets. Dried scallops and shrimp, as well as cured ham, can be expensive and may need to be purchased in larger quantities than required. This can make it challenging to make XO sauce on a budget.
Additionally, some people may not enjoy the strong seafood flavors that XO sauce provides. In this case, using a substitute that has a similar taste profile but with less emphasis on seafood can be a good alternative.
Finally, if you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to make XO sauce from scratch, using a substitute can save you time and effort while still providing a similar flavor to your dishes.
Making Your Own XO Sauce At Home
Making your own XO sauce at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. While there are many variations of this recipe, the traditional method involves using cured Jinhua ham, dried scallops, and dried shrimp.
Unfortunately, Jinhua ham can be difficult to find outside of China. As a substitute, you can use smoked or double-smoked ham or prosciutto. You can also substitute serrano or country ham for Jinhua ham.
To begin making your own XO sauce, you will need to rehydrate the dried scallops and shrimp. This can be done by soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes until they become soft and pliable. Once rehydrated, chop them into small pieces.
Next, finely chop the ham and garlic and sauté them in a pan until the garlic is fragrant and the ham is crispy. Add the chopped scallops and shrimp to the pan and continue to cook for a few minutes until everything is heated through.
Finally, add chili flakes, sugar, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce to the pan and stir everything together. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and become fragrant.
Once finished, let the sauce cool before transferring it to a jar or container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Making your own XO sauce at home may require some extra effort and time, but the end result is a delicious and authentic condiment that can elevate any dish.
Tips For Using XO Sauce And Its Substitutes
When using XO sauce or its substitutes, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure the best possible flavor and texture in your dishes.
Firstly, it’s important to use a neutral oil when making XO sauce or its substitutes to avoid muddling the rich flavors of the sauce. Peanut oil, olive oil, and sesame oil should be avoided, while neutral oils like vegetable oil and grapeseed oil are suitable.
When making homemade XO sauce, it’s important to use a tall pot instead of a flat skillet to prevent the oil from bubbling and rising too high while cooking the sauce. Additionally, be careful not to over-fry the ingredients and wait until they turn golden brown before removing them from the oil.
If you’re using store-bought XO sauce, be aware that quality can vary widely and some brands may be overly sweet. It’s also worth noting that XO sauce contains strong seafood flavors, so it may not be suitable for those with seafood allergies or sensitivities.
When using substitutes for XO sauce, keep in mind that each option has its own taste and texture. For example, oyster sauce and teriyaki sauce can be used in equal quantities as a substitute for XO sauce, but they bring their own unique flavors to dishes. Oil-infused chili sauces can also be used as a substitute, but they may not have the same depth of flavor as XO sauce or its homemade substitutes.