Chef David of The Alvah Stone says, “This recipe takes the best Chinese condiment and the best Thai condiment. I am also including our bacon recipe as good bacon is part of it. XO traditionally uses dried scallops and Chinese sausage instead of bacon. But, the bacon just tastes better and we always have it.”
Enjoy any extra sauce on roasted vegetables, with grilled or broiled tofu or meats … once you’ve tasted it you’ll realized it’s good on nearly everything! Makes about 3 cups.
1 cup dried shrimp (found in Asian markets)
1 cup garlic, peeled
1 cup ginger, peeled and cut into coins
1 pound bacon cut into ½-inch cubes
1 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
Put the dried shrimp in a small bowl and cover with water by 2 inches. Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, drain the shrimp and purée to a paste in a food processor. Put the shrimp paste into a medium saucepan.
Put the garlic, ginger, and bacon into the processor and purée to a smooth paste. Put the bacon paste into the saucepan with the shrimp.
Add the oil and pepper flakes to the saucepan. Put the pan over the lowest heat your stove can produce. Let the sauce cook for 4–5 hours or until the mixture has caramelized and has a deep nutty color.
Keep the finished XO sauce in the refrigerator and use within 1 month.
Nam Pla Prik
This Thai condiment adds heat, acid, and saltiness to a dish. It’s a great way to wake up a simple dish of rice and steamed vegetables. Makes about ½ cup.
5 Thai chilies (thinly sliced)
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup lime juice
1 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
½ garlic clove, pressed or grated through a microplane grater
Stir all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking: The sauce should have a good balance of salty, sour, sweet, and heat.
To Finish the Dish
2 to 4 bunches baby bok choy
1 tablespoon canola oil
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons XO Sauce
1 to 3 teaspoons nam pla prik
Clean and trim the bok choy and separate all of the leaves.
Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet over high heat. When pan is hot add oil and bok choy leaves. Season with a light sprinkle of salt. Toss the leaves around the pan once or twice, until the leaves are wilted but the stems still have a little crunch left.
Toss the bok choy with XO sauce and nam pla prik. Start with the smaller quantity of both sauces, taste, and add more to taste.