Just in time for Lunar New Year, I embarked on a daunting task – making the xo sauce. I think half the battle is won when you finally get a hold of the main ingredients: dried scallops, dried shrimps, jinuha ham and shaoxing wine, the rest are easily found on any staple pantry: garlic, onion, fresh chili, dried chili and oil.
The search for the dried scallops is in itself an adventure but I finally found it at a Chinese herbalist shop that had a stock of different sizes stowed away in big glass jars. The biggest ones cost around $158/lb while the smallest is around 118$/lb, I got 10 of each and a handful of dried shrimps and instantly I was a pauper haha right around that time I was thinking I should have just bought that 20$ bottle of xo sauce at the grocery and be done with it, but then of course I always love a challenge.
Next on the list of ingredients was the Jinhua ham, based on my research it’s almost impossible to find it outside China so I settled on substituting it with equal parts Italian prosciutto, Jamon Serrano and Chinese sausage. Shaoxing wine was easily available at the Asian aisle so I was all set.