This dish is ready in the blink of an eye and really drills home the benefits of having a good homemade XO sauce in the fridge. This is the kind of thing that would cost you $30 in a restaurant, but you can make it yourself in less than 10 minutes. Instead of homemade XO sauce you can use a good-quality store-bought variety, but for the reasons I explained in my previous post and video, I think it’s much better to make your own.


approx. 12 large prawns, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp vegetable oil

a pinch of salt

1 tbsp XO sauce, preferably homemade

10-15 snow peas, topped and tailed with threads removed

1 tsp cornflour mixed into 2 tbsp  water


Butterfly the prawns by cutting through the back about half the way through and flattening with the flat of a knife.

Heat your wok until very hot and drizzle the oil around the edges. Add the prawns to the wok, season with a pinch of sea salt and fry for about 30 seconds until starting to colour. Add in the snow peas and stir fry for a further minute. Add in the XO sauce and toss through for another minute or so until the prawns are just cooked and he snow peas tender but still crunchy. Drizzle over the cornflour mixture, toss for a further 30 seconds and transfer to a plate to serve.

Top Tips for Cooking Prawns with XO Sauce

  • Butterflying the prawns may seem unnecessary, but the light and crunchy texture it gives to the prawns is certainly worth the 5 minutes of effort.
  • The quality of prawns is all-important for any simple prawn dish. Try to use large fresh, certified sustainable raw prawns that you peel yourself. Peeled frozen prawns may be cheaper, but there are serious environmental and humanitarian concerns that need to be addressed with a lot of cheap prawn production.
  • Drizzling over the cornflour mixture helps to “stick” the XO sauce to the prawns and will be a huge boost to flavour. Don’t just dump the whole amount of the cornflour mixture into the wok, shake the wok and drizzle in only as much as you need. Watch the video for the technique.
  • If you’re still on the fence about whether to make your own XO sauce, maybe give this a go with a store-bought version first. If you like it, then move on to making your own.
  • The same technique can be used for making the classic pippies with XO sauce.