Fermented Plum Sauce

Traditional Fermented Plum Sauce - Sweet, spicy and delicious

This Asian-inspired fermented plum sauce is spicy, savoury and sweet. It has so much more going for it than the store-bought alternative. It is perfect for dipping spring rolls and salad rolls. Serve it with rice or add it to a stirfry.


  • 8 cups of plums, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
  • 6 tbsp culture (see notes)
  • Sweetener to taste


  1. In large heavy saucepan, bring plums, onions, ginger and garlic to a boil. This will start as a saute but the plums will quickly release enough liquid.
  2. Simmer on low with the cover on until plums and onions are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. At this point you can put the sauce through a food mill for a smooth plum sauce or you can leave it chunky.
  4. Stir in the spices and continue to simmer until it has thicken like applesauce. This can take 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the type of plums.
  5. Remove from heat and pour into glass jars for fermenting, leaving 2 cm of headroom at the top.
  6. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, then stir the fermentation culture into each jar of plum sauce, dividing between the jars. So 1 cup jars will each get 1 tbsp of culture.
  7. Leave to ferment at room temperature for 2-3 days.
  8. At that point, sweeten to taste, then store in the fridge. At first it will be a bit sparky from the fermentation, but that should only last for about a week after.


  • Yeast-based starter cultures will work best for this plum sauce. I recommend using the ginger bug because it adds a nice flavour, however, kefir whey, water kefir, kombucha or cultured apple cider vinegar would all work as well.
  • I haven’t recommended a particular sweetener for this plum sauce. However, feel free to add your favourite sweetener. I use 4 tbsp of honey for the whole batch, however, I like the tart flavour.  If you want a sweeter sauce (more like what you get in the store), then add 1 cup of sugar to the batch.
  • There are a thousand varieties of plum sauce, each with their own unique flavour. Feel free to play around with the spices to suit your tastes. Try replacing the cinnamon and cloves with mustard or Chinese 5-spice (affiliate link.)
  • Thanks to Om Nom Ally for the inspiration!

Keywords: sweet, sour, probiotic, savoury, vegan, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free, sugar free, keto, asian-inspired, Chinese-inspired, spring, summer, preserved