This is my first foray into XO sauce territory. I have previously heard of the XO sauce but before I actually looked further into it, I thought it had something to do with the X.O. Cognac. Actually, XO sauce is supposed to be a premium sauce made up of ingredients such as dried shrimps, chilli, scallops, shallots and garlic amongst others. It is no wonder that it is one of the more expensive sauces around in chinese cuisine.

The XO sauce is touted to be a good sauce to use with seafood. As I love mussels, I decided to give it a stir fry using the XO sauce to see how it would turn out. I have never tried the sauce, let alone know how it would eventually taste like. So, prior to cooking, I dipped a spoon into the sauce and then tried out the chilli-oil based sauce just to have an idea what XO sauce tastes like. It is actually hard to describe the taste but I do remember that it was kinda oily. Being conscious of not using too much oil in my cooking, I made it a point not to scoop unnecessary oil from the bottle for otherwise, the dish might end up too oily for my liking.

Mussels cook easily. If you cook too much, it would turn slightly chewy and rubbery. I bought some frozen and vacuum-packed NZ Mussels from the supermarket and defrosted them overnight in the lower compartment of the fridge. When I added the mussels into the wok, I could smell the sweet aroma coming from the mussels. Each bite into the juicy mussels reveal a natural sweetness from the mussels nicely paired with the subtle hint of spicy XO sauce. My wife and I polished the whole plate with steamed white rice and stir-fried french beans with egg. A simple, quick and satisfying meal. Aren’t all meals supposed to be like that? πŸ˜€

This is my quick recipe for Stir Fried Mussels with XO Sauce


  • 200 grammes mussels (shelled or with shell)
  • 1 large onion (sliced into rings)
  • Spring onions (cut into inch lengths)
  • 200 ml hot water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil


  • 2 to 3 teaspoons XO sauce
  • Salt to taste


Heat oil in wok and saute onion for 30 seconds. Add XO sauce and stir till aromatic. Add mussels and stir briskly for about 30 seconds.

Add water and cover lid. Allow mussels to cook for approximately 1 minute covered (mussels with shell are cooked when the shells open fully). Add salt to taste followed by spring onions.

Dish up and serve hot.

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  1. 1
    Pink Parisian
    October 1st, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Hey might be a good idea to show us the XO sauce you used? πŸ™‚ Still, I’d love to try this but I may do it with Lala… don’t quite like mussels πŸ™‚

  2. 2
    October 1st, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    I’m drooling like mad now … I lurrveee mussels & spring onions XD I’ve always wanted to buy XO Sauce … maybe now it’s time to try hehe … great photo ^^

  3. 3
    October 2nd, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Oh.. I love XO sauce. Sometimes when I cook vegetables, I scoop half a teaspoon in it and it just gives the veg an extra boost in flavour.

    The ones I use, Lee Kum Kee’s does not really have lots of oil. Or is it because I keep them in the fridge, you do not see the oil ‘flowing’ πŸ™‚

  4. 4
    October 3rd, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    XO sauce is both my hubby and my favourite! We used it when cooking dried Hong Kong noodles. Taste great!

    Nice shots!

  5. 5
    Andie Summerkiss
    October 3rd, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Never tried XO sauce either. I read it in some of the food blogs and I thought it was the fancy brandy too.

    Great recipe and great photo.

  6. 6
    October 4th, 2008 at 8:06 am

    They are good, the XO sauce. Unfortunately, due to my allergy towards dried shrimp and preserved food, can’t really have those. But that is a good one.

  7. 7
    October 4th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. You save my 2 packets of mussels which have been sitting in my freezer for more than 2 months. I have been thinking what to cook with them instead of with wine.

  8. 8
    October 5th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Pink Parisian : LOL! I thought the XO sauce is popular enough hence I did not take a picture of it. I think lala would be a good choice as well.

    noobcook : This dish appears to fit into your requirements πŸ˜€ Hope to see it appearing in your blog one day.

    keropokman : I also use the same brand. Maybe my tolerance to oil is lesser than yours. LOL!

    lk : I have also heard about it being used in noodle stir fries. I should try it one day myself to see how it fares πŸ˜€

    Andie : It sure is much much cheaper than brandy. LOL!

    reeseboston : Yeah, unfortunately this is one of those dishes which does not suit you. πŸ™ I think the next dish that comes out in this blog should be okay for you πŸ˜‰

    Jo : I can sense the mussels trembling with fear now that they are gonna end up in the wok πŸ˜›

  9. 9
    October 5th, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Finally, someone tells me what XO sauce tastes like. I never dare to buy ‘cos it is so expensive and am afraid I won’t like the taste. Now, this will be in my grocery list.

  10. 10
    Tom Aarons
    October 6th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks! Until I read this I was convinced it cognac in it! Now I know better… πŸ™‚

  11. 11
    October 8th, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I’m one of those who always wanted to buy XO sauce too but alas…the price puts me away.

  12. 12
    June 7th, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Hi, tks for sharing.

    may i know where can i buy this XO sauce(malaysia)?tks in adv

  13. 13
    June 7th, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Yvonne : You can get them from most supermarkets or chinese grocery shops.

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