“What’s Cooking” XO Sauce Stir Fry Vegetarian

XO sauce is one of the must have sauce in a Chinese kitchen. It is like a caviar of the East. It is versatile and can be used in any stir fry to enhance and flavour the dish; mostly in seafood, noodle and fried rice. It is extremely popular in Cantonese style cuisine, and thought to originate from Hong Kong. It is usually made from dried seafood, garlic, onion, chili and oil. The most famous brand is Lee Kum Kee, which is sold in most Asian supermarket stores. It is not cheap and usually cost over AUD$10 for a small jar. But you only need to use 1-2 teaspoons to flavour the dish in a stir-fry or use as a dipping sauce.

The jar which I have in my fridge is made from salmon (ie the brand name “I Love Salmon”). I got this in Sydney Chinatown a while back and still have it in my fridge. I decide to use it to flavour a stir-fry vegetarian dish, rather than using oyster sauce. Just think about it as “all in one” type of sauce.


To prepare my dish, I use a tablespoonful of XO sauce from the jar, a bit of light soy (for an extra saltiness), chopped garlic and coriander. The dish was spicy, salty and a bit sweet with lots of flavour, and added flavour from the vegetarian “mock meat” (it is hard to know what goes into making the mock meat, which is not well labelled by the manufacturer. I believe MSG is involved and lots of Sodium. So I am not too keen to eat too much unless it is homemade). At the end of my meal, I had to drink a pot of Chinese tea to cleanse my body. 🙂



Process 1 – Ingredients and Preparation

To prepare this dish, I use some mock meats combination of glaze duck finely sliced and a small can of mock abalone, and straw mushrooms. Chop 3 cloves garlic and a small bunch of coriander stems.

Note: you don’t have to use mock meats and can substitute with any kind of vegetables, like firm tofu, tofu puffs, a bit of bean sprouts and maybe some vermicelli noodles

Process 2 – Cooking

Heat some oil in a wok. Toss in chopped garlic and coriander. Gently fry until fragrant, then add the rest of the ingredients and a tablespoon of XO sauce. Add a teaspoon of light soy (if you wish for added saltiness). Stir fry until all ingredients are combined thoroughly and cooked. Plate it and garnish with pickled shredded ginger (or some coriander leaves).

Enjoy your meal!

8 responses to ““What’s Cooking” XO Sauce Stir Fry Vegetarian

  1. Victor, it sounds wonderful. Can I ask a question? Is the salmon XO vegetarian, that is salmon flavour or is it a salmon extract?

    • Min – I don’t think the XO sauce is a vegetarian version. I am not sure if there is a vegetarian version, since I am not a Vegan. But someone else may hopefully read this comment and offer a suggestion. As for what goes in the jar, it is from the label of the jar. All XO sauce would have been made from either dried fish, dried scallops, and other seafood products and cooked with garlic, chili, onion, salt, sugar, oil. You don’t have to use XO sauce to prepare the dish for your daughter this weekend. Substitute with vegetarian oyster sauce and fish sauce. Cheers.

  2. Was just checking Victor..with youngest daughter given that it contains fish, I’ll just hide the jar 🙂

  3. nice. so i can substitute the dried seacreatures with oyster and fish sauce and combine them with the remaining ingredients right? which would be garlic, chil,i onion, salt, sugar and oil.
    i am aiming for a XO sauce to accompany chinese steamed carrot cake.

  4. Where can you buy the XO sauce? How much does a jar cost?

    • You can get it at most Asian supermarket, and if you are in Hobart I think I may have seen it at Woolworth in New Town. I got mine in Sydney awhile back for less than $20.

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