It's never good news when a cherished food item you've hauled back in your suitcase goes moldy. This past week we were forced to toss our oyster sauce. While I never found a suitable recipe to make it from scratch (as Tajikistan is nearly a double land-locked country, it's not a surprise we don't have fresh oysters!), I did discover a recipe for another must-have asian condiment. Plum sauce.
And as luck would have it, I had everything on hand, including the almost-over-the-edge plums. I was inspired by the Asian Plum Sauce recipe in the fabulous The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. I stole this book from my sister the moment it arrived on her doorstep. But I did the right thing and bought a replacement on Amazon asap for her. Following is my slight adaptation.
From the top left going clockwise, you'll need brown sugar (mine came from Kabul -- but that's a story meant for a separate post), plums, golden raisins, cider vinegar, freshly grated ginger, garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, soy sauce, salt, and onion.
I chopped a pound of fresh plums. In my case, they are red plums. You can see they were very, very ripe.
Toss the chopped plums into a sauce pan.
Add 1 cup of packed brown sugar.
Next, pour in 2/3 cup of cider vinegar. If you live in this part of the woods, make sure it's NOT the locally produced 70% cider vinegar!!! Unless, of course, you want to pickle your insides.
And 1 tsp of salt.
At this point, mix well and place the sauce pan over high heat and boil gently, for about 3 minutes.
After boiling for three minutes, add the rest of your ingredients: 1 cup of chopped onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic, a little less than 1/4 cup of golden raisins, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1/8 tsp each of cayenne, ground cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger.
Boil for about 45 minutes, uncovered, until thickened, about 40 minutes.
I preferred to have the sauce a bit smoother, so once it was slightly cooled, I placed it into my food processor.
And whizzed for about half a minute.
And, viola! Asian Plum Sauce from Scratch. Now Now all I need to do is find me some roasted duck and chinese pancakes...