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Alvin Quah's XO Sauce Hack

It’s the magic ingredient that can give any dish a wallop of flavour, and if you’ve ever wanted to know how to make XO Sauce, Masterchef’s Alvin has a simple yet perfect ‘cheats’ version.

Originating in Hong Kong in the ‘80s, the sauce has become more and more popular around Australia with chefs like Kylie Kong and Marion Grasby putting their own spin on the Cantonese umami flavour bomb.

What is XO Sauce?

XO Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to any dish, even turning a simple bowl of rice into an explosion of flavour. Made up of dried seafood – most commonly shrimp, scallops and fish – and cooked with chilli, onions, garlic and imparted with a fatty richness from Jinhua ham, lap cheong or other smoked pork or ham.

The name was inspired by XO cognac, where XO stands for extra old, referring to how long the cognac has been aged in oak barrels. Despite the inspiration, there is no cognac used in the sauce, but because XO referred to a cognac of high quality, why not use it when it came to naming a sauce of equal prestige?

What can you use XO sauce for?

While a little goes a long way, you can use XO Sauce to enhance an endless list of dishes, from fried rice to steamed fish, roasted veggies or try your hand at Golden Century’s signature Pippies in XO.

What is Cheat’s XO Sauce? 

While XO Sauce is often a luxurious blend of ingredients, Alvin’s recipe comes together in no time at all and relies on ingredients you either have in your pantry or can grab from the grocer.

Check out the video above to make your own XO Sauce, trust us you won’t regret it! 

For more recipe tips, hacks and ideas check out the MasterChef page on 10 play.

MasterChef Australia Fans & Favourites airs Sunday - Thursday at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand