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Spicy Asian Plum Sauce


Delicious and so versatile! Use it as a stir fry sauce, a glaze for roasted pork or chicken, or dipping sauce for egg rolls or dim sum. I also dolloped the last spoonful from the bottom of the pot on a piece of cheese and it was divine!  

This recipe makes about 7 cups of sauce, depending on the juiciness of the plum or how long you let it simmer and reduce. I like to use 250 ml jars.



4 lbs black or red plums, pitted and coarsely chopped (9 cups halved plums, or about 60 Italian prune plums) 

11/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (can also use 1 cup dark brown and ½  cup white)

1/2 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 small piece (1 inch square approx.) fresh ginger, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno or 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

(If you don’t have the following 5 spices, you could also substitute 2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder)

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

2 stars anise (put these in a spice ball or wrapped in muslin for easy retrieval)


Bring plums, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, onion and jalapeno to a boil in a 4-quart stainless steel or enameled Dutch oven over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 20-30  minutes or until plums and onion are very soft.


Stir in salt and remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until plums disintegrate and mixture thickens. Remove from heat and discard star anise.


Using an immersion blender, process plum mixture until it’s smooth.  (Alternatively, process in batches in a food processor. Once everything is pureed, pour puree back into the Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium heat)  Remove from heat.

Ladle hot sauce into a hot jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply the band and adjust until fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.


Process jars 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove lid and let jars stand for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.


  • You can use any type of plum for this recipe, I only recommend using them in season.
  • Plum season is also when we have local ginger, garlic and jalapenos in the market, making this a sauce using all local ingredients.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the long list of spices.  You can easily omit some of them and you won’t really miss them. But if at all possible, include star anise as that’s what gives it such a distinctive asian flavour.
  • To make this recipe kid-friendly, simply omit the jalapenos or dried crushed red pepper.

More Recipes:

#canning #preserving #dips #condiments #sauces #Summer

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