Blistered Green Beans with XO Sauce

Pim Techamuanvivit makes her own version of the Hong Kong-style condiment XO sauce. The briny, funky flavors transform green beans.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4 (Makes 1 1/2 cups sauce)


  • 1/2 cup small dried shrimp (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup dried scallops (see Note)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup diced country ham or prosciutto (1/2 ounce)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped
  • One 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups rice bran, grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 pound green beans
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small bowl, cover the dried shrimp and scallops with the boiling water and let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain well.

  2. In a mini food processor, combine the shrimp, scallops and ham with the garlic, shallot, ginger, soy sauce, crushed red pepper and sugar. Pulse until minced. Scrape the mixture into a small saucepan and stir in 1 cup of the oil. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat; reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the solids are dark golden and fragrant, about 30 minutes. Remove the XO sauce from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

  3. Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil, add the green beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing every 30 seconds; the beans are done when they’re tender and blistered in spots. Drain off the oil. Stir in 1/4 cup of the XO sauce; toss until the beans are evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a platter. Serve with lemon wedges.

Make Ahead

The XO sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Dried shrimp and dried scallops are both available at Asian markets.

Contributed By Photo © Alanna Hale Published January 2015

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