Plum sauce is one of several commonly used Chinese condiments that are served with various types of fried foods, including egg rolls, noodles, and different types of fried fish. The sauce is both sweet and tangy, allowing the product to work well in a number of different applications. Although often made with plums, the same basic sauce recipe can be prepared using apricots, pumpkins, peaches, or even some forms of melons.
A basic plum sauce is made using plums that have been allowed to ripen to the point where the flesh of the fruit is at its sweetest. As part of the preparation, the skin of the plum is usually removed by immersing the whole plums in hot water for a short period of time, allowing the skin to be peeled away from the fruit with relative ease. The pulp of the fruit is combined with white or brown sugar, white or rice vinegar, ginger, and some type of hot peppers. Some recipes call for the addition of such ingredients as white wine, minced garlic, and even a dash of soy sauce.
The sweet yet sour taste of the plum sauce makes it an ideal dipping sauce for egg rolls. In addition, this sweet and sour sauce is excellent for use with fish or chicken balls that have been breaded and deep-fried. The consistency of the product is just thick enough to allow it to cling without a lot of dripping. As the product has become increasingly popular in many cultures, the sauce is sometimes used as a steak sauce, or as a way to add some additional taste to hamburger patties. Another common use today is as a dipping sauce for various types of sushi, including vegetable sushi.
The choice of ingredients as well as the balance between those ingredients will determine both the consistency and the taste of the plum sauce. Some recipes produce a sauce that is somewhat thin and salty like duck sauce. Other methods create a sauce that is thicker and is more sweet than sour. Since the sauce can be prepared fresh in a matter of five to ten minutes, it is easy to adjust the flavor to match the preferences of those who will be using the product with an upcoming meal. Consumers can also purchase bottled plum sauce at a number of grocery stores and supermarkets, often with a choice between different brands that vary in tartness and sweetness, as well as texture.