I’ve made this watercress dish over the years using only XO sauce, but recently, when there was only a teaspoon of XO left in the jar, and two bunches of watercress to cook, I had to come up with some substitutions, or rather additions. I had oyster sauce and fermented black bean sauce on hand. The result turned out tastier than the original recipe. An added benefit is that not much XO sauce is needed, important because it’s so expensive. The watercress I use is the kind I can get at Uwajimaya (nasturtium officinale), an Asian supermarket in the Seattle area, instead of what seems more commonly available elsewhere with the broad pond-lily leaves and thin stems.
The important step is to cook away almost all the water during the sautéing process, otherwise the sauce will become diluted.
Sautéed Watercress with Fermented Black Beans and XO Sauce
2 bunches watercress
2 tbsp. canola oil or light olive oil
1 tsp. XO sauce
1 tsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. fermented black bean sauce (such as Master brand)
Note: Be careful not to use more of any sauce called for above at the risk of making this dish too salty.
Rinse watercress thoroughly and spin-dry. Pinch off smaller stems from thick ones, leaving smaller stems attached to leaves.
Combine sauces and black beans.
Heat oil over medium heat in 10″ nonstick skillet until shimmering, add watercress, stirring occasionally until watercress cooks down and is almost dry, about 10 minutes. Add sauce mixture, stirring occasionally to incorporate sauce thoroughly (most easily done with long cooking chopsticks), about 5 minutes longer, until additional liquid evaporates. The volume of watercress will be reduced greatly. Serve.