Chinese Plum Sauce

Although plums are not is season at present, keep this recipe for  when plums are readily available.  On the other hand, you may well have some frozen, even bottled.  Probably you could even use tinned plums, though I’d steer way from those that have been canned in syrup.

I was fortunate in that my daughter Stephanie happened to have some bottled stewed plums (no sugar added) so was able to use those to make this sauce.  The end result would be delicious served with duck, but visitors to our house at the weekend declared it sensational with pork.  I’d even cooked up some plain simple sausages (to make piggies in blankets for the grandchildren – recipe in next post), and they were gobbled down with the sauce as well.

So certainly this sauce is well worth having on hand.  I think it would be a great addition to a stir-fry type dish.

Chinese Plum Sauce


1kg plums (weight with stones removed), chopped

375g onions, diced

1 knob garlic, peeled and chopped (about 10 cloves garlic)

200g fresh green ginger, chopped

125ml soy sauce

¼ cup mirin

2 cups white or cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

500g brown sugar

3 star anise, ground finely

2 teaspoons beetroot powder or a few drops natural red food colouring, optional

Place the plums, onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil, stirring, then simmer for 30 minutes.  Press mixture through a sieve or food mill.

To the resulting sauce, add the sugar and star anise.  Bring to the boil, stirring, then simmer for 40 minutes.

For better colour, stir in the beetroot powder** or red food colouring.

** Generally available from spice shops

5 thoughts on “Chinese Plum Sauce

  1. Julie says:

    Hi Sally,
    I love preserving and own two of you books, ‘out of the bottle’ and ‘a year in a bottle’ they are my bibles.
    just wondering if the chinese plum sauce recipe is suitable for preserving and how long is the shelf life. thank you for the inspiration


    • Sally Wise says:

      Hi Julie – it should keep in a cool, dry dark place for several months, so long as you bottle and seal it while it’s hot.


  2. Deanna Meredith says:

    I made this recipe last year and my family love it! We use it to make sticky chicken wings…everyone has been impatiently waiting for the plums this year… Thanks Sally


  3. Keryl Rutter says:

    Hi Sally, I love the look of your Chinese Plum Sauce, but I was wondering how I could make the beetroot powder. Could dehydrated beetroot be used after high processing in the food processor? or grinding? or just adding blended cooked beetroot.


    • Sally Wise says:

      Hi Keryl – I cook the beetroot, then cut into thin slices and dehydrate at 70 degrees C. When it is fully dehydrated, I put it into the food processor to turn it to powder. Sometimes I’ve had to go an extra step and finish it off (i.e. to a finer consistency) in my spice grinder (but always turn it to a fine crumb texture first in the food processor). Regards, Sally


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s