Friday, June 11, 2010

Asian Plum Sauce from Scratch

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...


Oman Collective Intelligence said...

Yummy...made me hungry. Thanks for sharing and greetings from Oman.

John said...

This was awesome plum sauce.

John said...

awesome plum sauce.

Anonymous said...

Hello there Scratchistan! We are a couple from the U.S. that is planning an upcoming trip to Tajikistan and the Pamir mountains. Is there a way to contact you so we might pick your brain about what we should bring/not bring and how we should prepare for our visit? Thank you and regards, D.

A Broad Living Abroad said...

Hello Anonymous! I've (finally) added an email link on my blog. Thanks for giving me a reason to do so! Please contact me directly and I'll do my best to help you out...or at least point you in the right direction! Cheers!

David Saffold said...

This sauce was absolutely delightful! Thank you for the tasty recipe and the easy to follow instructions.