I made a batch of this fresh plum sauce last year after I purchased Diana Henry’s book on preserving – Salt Sugar Smoke. I instantly fell head-over-heels for it and proceeded to order spring rolls from our local Chinese restaurant several time a week, until the sauce was finished. I promised myself I would make it again this year and decided I would share it.
For this sauce, I use either red-skinned plums or the Italian purple plums that are out at farm stands now. Dark soy sauce is thicker than regular soy sauce and is quite a bit stronger. I would suggest finding a good-quality dark soy sauce at an Asian grocery store. I bought a cheap bottle ($1.49, what a deal….) and it was not the nicest of sauces.
Chinese-Style Plum Sauce
Makes about 2 cups.
2 1/4 lbs red-skinned plums (about 15 plums), pitted and chopped
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
3 whole star anise
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
2/3 firmly packed light brown sugar
Place the plums, vinegar, salt, chili flakes and star anise in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit is completely soft, about 20-30 minutes.
Push the plum puree through a fine sieve, capturing the liquid in a clean saucepan. Add the soy sauce and sugar and slowly bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes. The mixture should be thickened to the consistency of the packets of plum sauce you normally get in Chinese restaurants. Pour the warm sauce into a clean canning jar (or jars). Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 months.