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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pippies with XO sauce

Pippies in XO Sauce is a Cantonese classic and one of my favourite dish. In my opinion, anything that ends in 'with XO sauce' is good. The extreme umami flavour from the combination of dried scollops, dried shrimps and ham, coupled with aromatic spices is near impossible to resist.

In chinese cuisine, XO sauce is considered the most luxurious and indulgence of all sauces. Often referred by many as the caviar of the orient, the exact origin of this sauce is still a mystery. Many believed, it originated in Hong Kong in the early 80's. Where is served as a table condiment in higher-end seafood restaurants. With the recipe jealously guarded by chefs and restauranteurs. The popularity of this flavour packed sauce soon spread internationally. XO sauce is  now available in most Asian supermarkets, lee Kum kee brand XO sauce being the most well known. XO sauce is fantastic in stir-fry and especially good with seafood. A couple spoons of XO sauce will add that extra something special to any dish.

500g pippies
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 tbsp XO sauce, lee Kum kee brand
1 cup of water
1/2 tbsp of Knorr brand chicken powder
1 tsp kecap manis
1/2 tbsp cornflour with a tbsp cold water


Spring onion


To steam the pippies using the microwave.

1. Place the pippies in a plastic bag and tie the bag tight.
2. Place the pippies in the microwave for two minutes.
3. Then remove pippies from microwave and set aside for 5 minutes to let the residual heat steam the pippies.
4. Remove the pippies from the bag, some will open up, while the rest will have to be manually opened. Using a knife, slip it in between the shells and twist to open. Discard any excess liquid

To cook the pippies

1.  On medium heat sauté the garlic with oil in fry-pan until fragrant.
2. Add the XO sauce and toss together.
3. Then add water, chicken powder and kecep manis. Test and taste for seasoning
4. To thicken then sauce with the cornflour slurry. Add cornflour and stir to combine. Add a little more water if sauce is too thick.
5. Add the pippies into the sauce and  toss to combine.
6. Remove onto a serving plate and garnish with chilli and spring onions.

Tip: I like to serve the pippies on top of crispy vermicelli noodles, to soak up all that luscious gravy.

To make crispy vermecilli noodles

1. Cook 1-2 square of dried vermicelli noodles according to manufacturer instructions.
2. Drain any excess water.
3. Shallow fry in fry-pan with about 1/2cm of oil until crispy on both sides.
4. Drain off any excess oil on paper towel.

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