Cass Hay Vegan Sauces Duo Bundle

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Cass Hay of Hara Wholefoods shows us how to step up our vegan condiment game with this duo of tasty accompaniments.

Shiitake, Ginger, and Sesame sauce
By Cass Hay / Hara Wholefoods @searchingforcass @harawholefoods

Yields 300ml


  • ½ cup dried shitake
  • 10 x 10 cm square dried kelp
  • 1 tsp crushed star anise
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbs miso
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil


  1. In a heatproof bowl, add just-off-the-boil water to shitake, kelp and star anise (just enough to cover).
  2. While soaking, peel ginger and either grate or roughly chop (depending on the power of your blender).
  3. When shitake is soft, discard kombu (great for the compost / garden…. Or pat dry and fry. Or pickle. Or snack) and star anise.
  4. In blender jug, add EVERYTHING: shitake, shitake soaking water aka broth, ginger, sunflower seeds, miso, tahini, soy sauce, vinegar and olive. Blitz til smooth. Adjust to taste; more vinegar if it tastes flat, more soy if you want it saltier (and a lil squeeze of honey or a pinch of sugar if you like things a little sweeter).
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

Serving suggestions: drizzle on steamed greens/roast veg, fried tofu/tempeh, toss with rice noodles, spread on a sandwich etc.


Vegan XO Sauce
By Cass Hay / Hara Wholefoods @searchingforcass @harawholefoods

“I don’t really know what to call this except for delicious…. Inspired by Ivan Orkin’s “XO sauce” which he readily admits is not an XO sauce at all, but rather his version of a taberu rayu ( a “hot oil” condiment in Japanese cooking).”

Yields 350ml approx


  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 tbs flour (any kind at all, except self-raising)
  • 1 cup dried shitake
  • 4 sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbs chilli powder
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds (or any chopped nuts)
  • ¼ cup white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic


  1. In a medium saucepan, add both oils, finely diced onion and flour. Cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until onion is golden brown and “puffy”, approx. 20-30 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, soak shitake in hot water until soft, then squeeze out excess water and finely chop. Save the water for another dish or another day… (use instead of stock or water for most things…. Can always keep topping up a container in the freezer if your shitake water seems too insignificant to keep. It’ll add up, promise.)
  3. When onion is brown and puffy, add shitake, chilli powder, sunflower seeds (or nuts), sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, salt (ie everything except the garlic) and cook for 5 mins.
  4. Add the garlic, cook for another 3 mins, then remove from heat. Allow to cool completely before using, the texture will thicken. In a clean jar, and if you use a clean spoon every time, this will keep for weeks.

Serving suggestion for vegan XO sauce

Cook rice noodles (if flat dried rice noodles, that’s 6-8 mins in boiling water on the stove). Rinse thoroughly in cold water.

Meanwhile, combine 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbs hot water, 2 tbs rice vinegar, shake until sugar is dissolved and pour over 1-2 cups shredded cucumber, wombok and green beans. Mix well.

Combine noodles with dressed greens, top with spoonful of XO sauce.