I remember the first time having this, not too long ago actually, about 1 and a half weeks ago, instant love. I was having dinner with Pam (ex-housemate, fellow foodie, and now long-distance twinnie) and her family who had just arrived that morning from Singapore. We were meant to have a homemade pizza night but we were all feeling a bit tired to cook. Still happy anyway because I got to meet Pam after 4 months since we last saw each other, and I got to meet her family. We had dinner in Chinatown (forgive me, I don’t actually remember the name of the restaurant), and amongst the many dishes we ordered, the stir-fried pipis in XO sauce caught my attention.
It was so yummy, well cooked, and had a good amount of spice to it. It was that good that I had to recreate it for myself, and I did – with larger pipis as well (the ones at the restaurant were baby-sized)! They were only $16.00/kg at the seafood market in Market City. The pipis were already cleaned and had no sand and grit in them. They were also alive which amused me quite a bit to be honest. I stood there over the bucket and started playing with them – tapping their shells, and picking them up and squeezing their shells shut, until the lady approached me and asked me if I wanted to buy them. I bought roughly about 800g for about $13.00 and I was able to get two meals out of it – with steamed jasmine rice and pan-fried eggplant. So delish!
XO sauce is a spicy seafood sauce commonly used in southern Chinese cooking. It’s made of roughly chopped dried seafoods, including scallops, dried fish and shrimp, and subsequently cooked with chilli peppers, onions, and garlic. XO sauce can be used as a condiment on the side of main dishes or used in cooking to enhance the flavour of fish, meats, vegetables, and otherwise bland foods such as tofu or noodles. The named is derived from fine XO (extra-old) cognac, which is a popular Western liquor in Hong Kong which denotes high quality, prestige, and luxury.
Check out the original recipe from Yahoo!7 Lifestyle.
PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4
- 800g live pipis
- 1/2 cup fish stock (or clam juice)
- 1/4 cup XO sauce
- 1/4 cup Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 red birds-eye chillies, sliced
- 2 stalks green onion, sliced
- Juice of 1 lime
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan (or preferably a wok if you have one) over high heat. Sauté the green onions and red chillies (reserve a few for garnishing later) for 2 minutes or until softened.
- Add the pipis and cook for a further 3 minutes or until most of the shells have opened.
- Add in the XO sauce, fish stock, Shaoxing wine, and oyster sauce. Simmer for about 3 minutes or until all shells have opened (cook for no more than 5-6 minutes, discard any unopened shells). Transfer to a serving plate.
- Top with reserved green onions and red chillies. Drizzle with lime juice and serve with steamed rice.
– Ally xx