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China Live House XO Sauce with Cognac $29.95

"XO” is slang for “luxurious” in Hong Kong.

The sauce, a dim sum staple, is rumored to have been concocted in the 1980s at the exclusive Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, a northern part of modern Hong Kong. It was named after the trendiest drink at the time, XO, or “extra old,” cognac, even though the sauce typically doesn’t contain the liquor. Expensive and time-consuming to make, the recipe features an intricate series of steps designed to coax flavor out of specialty ingredients. Many chefs and home cooks agree that well-made, high-quality sauce is worth a steep price for the depth and umami it can lend to dishes.

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HOW TO USE

A little bit goes a long way with this powerful sauce. XO sauce works well mixed into most noodles dishes; we like it on top of our Scallion Noodles. Try it drizzled on top of or stir-fried into fried rice for extra flavor: Kimchi and Bacon Fried Rice and Fried Rice with Edamame and Ham (start with a little and build up as needed). Finish off our Stir-Fried Ginger Green Beans with Tofu (Vegetables) with a spoonful for some umami, or add to any egg dish for a boost of flavor and texture (XO sauce is great with our Cantonese Shrimp with Fluffy Eggs).

Kitchen Notes

A little bit goes a long way with this powerful sauce. XO sauce works well mixed into most noodles dishes; we like it on top of our Scallion Noodles. Try it drizzled on top of or stir-fried into fried rice for extra flavor: Kimchi and Bacon Fried Rice and Fried Rice with Edamame and Ham (start with a little and build up as needed). Finish off our Stir-Fried Ginger Green Beans with Tofu (Vegetables) with a spoonful for some umami, or add to any egg dish for a boost of flavor and texture (XO sauce is great with our Cantonese Shrimp with Fluffy Eggs).

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