August 8, 2010

It’s the height of plum season and the markets are overflowing with plums in dark purple, pale yellow, ruby red. The variety is amazing – some have yellow flesh, others are bright red.

I love how plums, when made into jam, or chutney, or this delectable Asian style sauce, glisten like rubies.

I use this sauce as a dipping sauce for fried wontons stuffed with sauteed shitake mushrooms, ginger & garlic. But mostly I use this sauce for grilling – pork, chicken or tofu marry perfectly with the zippy fruity tang.

I made up this recipe for Plum Sauced Pork Tenderloin last year, as my first entry to food52. It was selected as a finalist, but was bested by this brilliant smoky pork burger recipe by my friend Jen. (Try the burgers – ambrosial!)

But I’m getting off track.

Recently, I didn’t have a tenderloin, but I did have two beautiful pork chops, so I treated them the same way. On a very hot grill, quick sear the chops on each side, then move them off the direct heat to finish the cooking indirectly, basting with the plum sauce from time to time. My chops were pretty thick and took 16 minutes on the grill, total, and then rested for 10 minutes before serving with warm plum sauce.

Spicy Asian Plum Sauce
adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving
makes 5-6 half pints

2 lbs pitted and chopped plums, any type, any color, but try to get some tart and some sweet
1/2 c white sugar
1 c packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/2 c chopped onion
1-4 chopped jalapeno or mixture of hot peppers
2 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh gingeroot, minced
1 t galangal (substitute ginger, if necessary)

Bring all ingredients except plums to a boil in a non-reactive pan. Stir in chopped plums. Reduce heat and simmer until thick, stirring often – about 30-45 minutes, depending on the moisture content of the plums. The mixture should be reduced by half.

Puree in a blender, or use an immersion blender, or even mash with a potato masher – the sauce can be smooth or chunky. I prefer pieces of plum, so use my immersion blender.

Fill hot half-pint jars with hot sauce, leaving 1/4″ headspace.
Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

15 Responses to “Plum Perfect”

  1. Anonymous

    Looks delicious and nothing I like better than seeing a bustling kitchen scene!


  2. Liz the Chef

    Lucky me got a sneak preview, made a batch and have it tucked away in the pantry. I spooned some over a pork tenderloin before roasting it – fabulous!

  3. Kate aka Hipgirls

    I was just about to put out a tweet asking how I should use up excess plums!

    Can't wait to try this, thanks.

  4. Sean

    I'm the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (, a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It's sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I'd love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

  5. MrsWheelbarrow

    Thanks for all the nice comments! Lu – I was a little embarrassed to show that messy kitchen, but decided to put it out there. Kate – what kismet, hm? I first made this because I fell in love with too many plums at the farmers market.Sean – I'd LOVE to submit to – will do. Hi, Maria – when are we canning via Skype?

  6. Marilyn

    Cathy, I made a batch of this sauce today and it is delicious. Sadly I only got 4 half pints so am going to make another batch tomorrow. I used 3 jalapenos from my garden and it's pretty spicy.

  7. MrsWheelbarrow

    Marilyn – I've had varying amounts from this recipe – from 4 to 6 half-pints. I think it has to do with the wateriness of the plums. Italian prune plums are the most dependable, in terms of providing 6 half-pints, as they are rather dense.

    I taste after the addition of each jalapeno, to be sure I'm not scorching my mouth! 🙂

  8. Ott, A.

    This looks delish! I love that you canned it as well. I am getting ready to host a "Canning Week Blog Party" next week on my blog and hope you will stop by. We will be posting lots of tips, recipes,give-a-ways, and a linky party (which this post would be ideal for). It should be a lot of fun and hopefully encourage and educate others about canning.

  9. anna saint john

    was getting ready to post that i’ve acquired plums for slivovitz and then i found your recipes for plum sauce (a regular, purchased item in my asiany pantry) and the chai spiced conserves. what’s a girl supposed to do? go back to the farmers’ market of course!

  10. Brenda

    I made some Slivovitz following your recipe.
    Absolutely Delicious!
    Would it be possible to use the alcohol soaked plums in a plum sauce recipe now?

    • Cathy Barrow

      I’ve been asked this question often. The fact is, the plums have given their all for the slivovitz. They’re spent. I’ve never seen a use for them.



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