Shrimp with Coconut Milk Grits & XO Sauce

March 21, 2018
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4 (sauce makes 2 cups)
Author Notes

You can put XO sauce on just about anything, from noodles to scrambled eggs, but I decided to try it on traditional shrimp and grits and was astounded by how well it all works together. The creamy grits are a perfect counterbalance to the umami-rich XO sauce. You can use traditional cream to make the grits, but I chose coconut milk to keep the dish from being too heavy—plus, it was another nod in the Asian direction. —Alicia Lu

Test Kitchen Notes

Are you thinking, "What is XO sauce?" Make your way to the full article to know more about this life-changing condiment. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • XO Sauce
  • 1/3 cup sardines, chopped
  • 1/3 cup anchovies, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Chinese lap cheong sausage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Chinese Jinhua ham, prosciutto, or bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, minced (but not too finely)*
  • 1/8 cup crushed red pepper flakes*
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced (but not finely)
  • 1/4 cup ginger, peeled and minced (but not too finely)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • *A larger mince will help prevent the ingredient from burning.
  • *You can adjust this depending on your preferred spice level.
  • Shrimp & Grits
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup white-corn grits
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 tablespoons XO sauce, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  1. XO Sauce
  2. Pulse chopped sardines in a food processor until it resembles a chunky paste. Clean and repeat the process with anchovies, sausage, and prosciutto/bacon—separately. Keep each processed ingredient separate and set aside.
  3. Add 1 cup vegetable oil to a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook until fragrant and translucent (about 30 seconds), stirring constantly. Add crushed red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Add garlic, ginger, five spice powder, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, stirring to combine.
  4. In separate batches, add sardines, anchovies, sausage, and prosciutto/bacon, stirring after each addition.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until oil is infused (about 20 minutes), stirring every few minutes. Let cool a bit before serving or transferring to a container. You can store XO sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  1. Shrimp & Grits
  2. Bring stock and coconut milk to a boil. Add grits, stirring to incorporate evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until grits are cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir in the butter.
  3. Add XO sauce to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until shrimp are pink, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Assemble plates with grits on the bottom and sautéed shrimp on top. Top with more XO sauce, if desired. Garnish with chopped parsley.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susan
  • Yoni Weiss
    Yoni Weiss
  • Alicia Lu
    Alicia Lu
  • Steven Camp
    Steven Camp
Freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and creator of the Pizzafy app. Follow my food adventures on and Instagram: @aiya_kitchen.

8 Reviews

Steven C. April 29, 2018
This was amazing!!! The XO sauce smells odd when making it, but worth it. Found the sausage at our local Asian market in Nashville. This meal can be repeated pretty quickly if you've made the XO sauce ahead of time.
G March 28, 2018
Is there a western version of the sausage that might be easier to find in traditional supermarkets? Or, an equitable substitution?
Alicia L. March 30, 2018
Hi G, that's a really good question. Lap cheong has such a distinctly sweet flavor that I can't think of any Western sausages that are really comparable. I wonder if bacon jam or candied bacon might be the best substitute! If you try making this with either of those, I would love to hear about your results! :)
nancy S. March 25, 2018
Yes, I'm extremely literal, so no mention of 'canned' fish means... fresh fish? Can't be, but sometimes my assumptions are wrong :)
Alicia L. March 25, 2018
Your assumptions are absolutely right here! The sardines and anchovies should be cooked from a can, tin, or jar. :)
Susan March 25, 2018
Definitely going to try this recipe. I’ve become allergic to cayenne (bummer!) so traditional shrimp and grits isn’t an option for me anymore. This riff sounds amazing!
Yoni W. March 23, 2018
Oo this looks amazing! Gonna have to try this this weekend.
Alicia L. March 25, 2018
I hope you like it! You seem like a shrimp lover ;)