Plum Sauce

Plum sauce is a traditional Chinese dipping sauce used for fried dishes such as spring rolls, egg rolls, and chicken balls. It also tends to be used with roasted dishes such as duck. Plum sauce is one of the Chinese sauces that many individuals around the world are familiar with, as it is commonly used in Chinese restaurants around the world.

Ingredients:

Plum

Assorted Fruits, including Peach and Apricot

Sugar

Vinegar

Chiles

Ginger

Onion (Optional)

Herbs and Spices (Optional)

Note on Ingredients:

Plum sauce can vary in the style of ingredients, depending on the flavor you are desiring. The selection of fruits should be done keeping the subtle flavors of each additional fruit in mind, as they may not pair with the dish that your plum sauce accompanies.

The herbs and spices that you select should also keep the main dish in mind. If you're having a spicy dish, you may want a sweeter sauce, so avoiding heavy use of peppers and chiles may be ideal. For sweeter dishes, you may want to add hints of cinnamon and other peppers to counter the sweetness of the dish.

Traditional Chinese plum sauce uses small plums that range in size from grapes to apricots, as these cook quicker. Many plum sauce recipes will call for preserved plums, which are almost always small. Unlike Western plums, the Chinese plum tree resembles an apricot more than the purple plums many people think of. Purple plums do not tend to be used in Chinese plum sauce, as it does not have the same flavor.

Preparation: 5 to 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

There are many methods to making plum sauce. When you are cooking your ingredients, you will want to be careful to add them in an order where you do not overcook the plums while ensuring the rest of your ingredients are soft. Onions and Plums have roughly the same cook rate, so these should be added to your sauce pan at the same time.

History:

It is unknown when plum sauce first started being used in China. It is believed to be rather ancient, as plums have grown in the region for thousands of years. As plums were easily available, it made the fruit ideal for Chinese cooking recipes. Like stir fry and many other Chinese dishes, plums can be quickly cooked, which fits well with the history of Chinese cuisine, which often required fast cooking times.