The 9 best substitutes for plum sauce for your recipes
The plum sauce It is a unique seasoning originating from China. It is essentially a combination of sweet plums, vinegar, garlic, chili, ginger, sugar, and salt. Although it may seem like a rather strange combination, it is a very popular sauce, and not only in Chinese cuisine.
As unique as it is, plum sauce can be substituted in your recipes. If you just don’t like this flavor combination, or don’t have plum sauce right now, we can help you find the right one. perfect substitute for plum sauce.
The Best Substitutes for Prune Sauce
Prune sauce is undoubtedly one of the most delicious sauces you will find in Chinese restaurants. It owes its growing popularity not only to its incredible taste, but also to the versatility it offers. Prune sauce has many uses, working great as a dipping sauce, finishing sauce for roast duck, as a sauté sauce, as a basting sauce, or even as a glaze.
Prune sauce usually has a specific light brown color and a thick consistency. The taste is hard to describe, but it is both sweet and sour, which is a common combination in Chinese cuisine. Although originally made with plums, there are even variations with other fruits, such as pineapple, apricot, and peach.
Depending on the combination of ingredients, the sauce can be a bit acidic and spicy. Red plum sauce usually has a darker purple color, while golden plums give a lighter color. It complements a number of dishes including rice, chicken, shrimp, pork, egg rolls, noodles, moo shu, Asian salad, dumplings and many more.
However, plum sauce can also elevate any simple dessert, such as vanilla ice cream, pudding, or even a fruit salad.
1. Homemade plum sauce
If you don’t happen to have plum sauce in the fridge, you can make it! You may be skeptical of making your own sauce, but with the right recipe, it can turn out just as good as the “real thing.”
For your quick homemade plum sauce, you will need the following ingredients (these amounts make 10 servings)
- 16 ounces plum jam
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Add all the ingredients to the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir the mixture well until it starts to boil, and remove from the heat. In just 20 minutes total, you’ll have delicious plum sauce from scratch, and you may never buy another pot again!
2. Duck sauce
Duck sauce is often confused with plum sauce, as they can have a similar appearance, texture, and uses. However, this sauce is usually bright orange in color, translucent, and gelatinous in structure. The term duck sauce comes from the famous combination of this fruity sauce with Peking duck.
Aside from poultry, duck sauce goes well with all kinds of fried dishes, rice, and noodles. It is often served with spring and egg rolls or used as a glaze. Duck sauce is usually a combination of different fruits, such as pineapple, apricots, apples, pears, and plums.
3. Sweet and sour sauce
If you’re looking for that sweet and sour flavor, the best substitute for plum sauce might be sweet and sour sauce. This sauce is easy to find, so if you’re having trouble finding a good brand of prune sauce, it’s definitely your safest bet. However, if you’re going for the thick consistency of plum sauce, keep in mind that sweet and sour sauce tends to be on the runny side.
Like plum sauce, sweet and sour can be combined with many dishes. You can serve it as a sauce with honey chicken, pour it over shrimp fried rice or use it as a sauce for your meatballs.
And if you prefer to make your sauces from scratch, all you need for a homemade sweet and sour sauce is sugar, cider vinegar, garlic powder, soy sauce, onion powder, cornstarch, and ketchup. Just combine all the ingredients, except the cornstarch, over medium heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Mix some cornstarch with cold water, add it to the sauce and keep stirring until the sauce has reached the desired consistency.
4. Hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce is another convenient alternative to prune sauce, as it has that thicker, stickier texture that everyone loves about prune sauce. Since it’s widely available in both grocery and Asian food stores, you shouldn’t have a problem finding it.
Thanks to its sticky consistency, it works very well as a glaze for meat. You can also use it as a dipping or marinating sauce for Peking duck, add it to rice, or mix it into stir-fry for extra flavor. Hoisin sauce is a perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors, with a little bit of heat.
5. Soy sauce
Soy sauce is not only a great alternative to plum sauce, but possibly the most widely used Asian sauce out there. It has a unique salty, yet sweet flavor, usually has a runny texture and deep brown color. However, the dominant taste is umami, which is recognized as the ultimate salty taste, or “fifth taste,” in addition to the well-known taste categories: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
There’s almost nothing you can’t use soy sauce with. It’s a great choice for marinades, stews, soups, stir-fries, and pasta. However, many people only use it as a seasoning to add more salt or flavor to their food.
You can find soy sauce in many varieties, depending on your preferences. Light soy sauce is runny and is used primarily as an “everything” sauce, while dark soy sauce is quite thicker and sweeter. Another popular variety is white soy sauce, which is a lighter alternative and does not change the color of the dish.
6. Char siu sauce
Char siu sauce, also known as Chinese barbecue sauce, is mostly paired with pork. It is often used as a marinade or glaze for roasted pork skewers. The sauce is usually a mixture of honey, hoisin, soy sauce, sherry, and Chinese five-spice powder.
The taste is somewhere between sweet and salty, but it can also be a bit spicy. Char siu sauce is an ideal substitute for plum sauce as they have similar uses, even though they differ in texture. Char siu sauce makes a great marinade, dipping sauce, or even as a spread.
Homemade char siu can quickly become a favorite in your kitchen since it requires no cooking. All you have to do is combine the following ingredients in a bowl and you have a char siu:
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder.
- 7. Teriyaki sauce
Teriyaki sauce is a popular Japanese sauce, and is best known as a marinade for meat. Structure-wise, this plum sauce substitute is more on the basic side, as it only contains 4 ingredients: soy sauce, sake, ginger, and sugar. However, what cannot be called basic is its taste, which is a beautiful mix of sweet, salty and spicy.
If you’ve run out of plum sauce or are simply looking for an alternative, teriyaki sauce may be the perfect solution. You can use it to marinate meat, vegetables, tofu, or fish (but make sure you do it at least an hour before cooking). However, when reduced, the teriyaki sauce becomes shiny and sticky, just what you need for a glaze or dipping sauce.
8. Ponzu Sauce
This is another traditional Japanese sauce, and a worthy substitute for plum sauce if you need a dipping sauce. What makes ponzu stand out is its refreshing citrus aroma, tasty bonito flakes, and sweet mirin. It is a great seasoning for your noodles, meatballs or even grilled meats and fish.
Since ponzu is a liquid sauce, you should not add it too early in cooking. Instead, add it at the end when making stir-fries, stews, or soups to add more flavor. Ponzu sauce is also a great addition to your salads as a refreshing, albeit salty, dressing.
9. Caramelized onion chutney
Caramelized onion chutney is a unique combination of sweet and savory flavors that can complement just about any dish. You can use it as a seasoning with grilled meat and vegetables, as a spread on your toast or bruschetta, or as a dipping sauce.
Although it doesn’t have a fruit base, the sweetness of the caramelized onions and sticky texture make chutney a great substitute for plum sauce. Chutney can also be found in many other variations, such as tomato and chili, mango and papaya.
How to Choose a Prune Sauce Substitute
Your best bet for a sticky glaze for any type of roast would be homemade plum sauce, duck sauce, and hoisin sauce. Like plum sauce, these sauces have a thicker consistency, necessary for a glaze.
Sweet and sour sauce, char siu, and caramelized onion chutney make great dipping and marinating sauces. Plus, these dips are easy to make at home if you need a quick dressing.
Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and ponzu sauce will give any dish a touch of umami and take it to the next level. Since they tend to be more liquid, they can be used as salad dressings or simple condiments.
Each of these alternatives can be a good substitute for plum sauce, so be sure to choose one based on your preferences and the dish you’ve planned.