SPICY PLUM BARBECUE SAUCE and Grilled Tofu – How I went from making sweet jam to spicy barbecue sauce

Harvard takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes – Frank Lloyd Wright

Hope your weekend was good.
Plum Barbeque Sauce

I was 7, I think. It was 19XX coughs ;)..

During vacations,  my grandma whom I fondly called ‘Amma’ and the little me, each carrying  a wire grocery bag walked hand in hand to our local fruit market. Just the BAG, brings back nostalgic memories.

After much bargaining, we load our baskets with different fruits. Walking to the auto stand with heavy load was a task in itself, we take an auto-rickshaw to a place I loved to go.

I still remember the whitewashed walls, big huge 5 foot industrial style machines and the smell of sweet sugar and fruits. Large aluminium tables adorned the middle of the room, knifes and peelers were all set to be used.  
We went there to make JAM. It was a jam making facility.

Plum Barbeque Sauce 2

Among 30 middle aged hyper women and big machines running, the little kids were easily forgotten.

Oh, what fun it was for us kids to see the machine peel oranges and the fruits turning to mush. I don’t exactly remember how it was cooked but all I remember is that my grandma would bottle it up and promise me that she would buy some fresh bread from our corner bakery. I could never get enough of fresh jam.

The process took a whole 5 hours and I am still surprised that we could do all that in India way back and now it is gone 😦 . The concept of using local produce to make our own products is coming back in US now.

Plum Barbeque3

Inspired by my fond memories of summer, I decided to make jam with my boys. I just got a huge bag of fresh of the tree plums from my good friend’s garden (completely organic).

With Plums simmering in sugar, our home smelled exactly like how I remember from years ago.  My little one comes running down and asks If I was making Halwa(Indian dessert). He sat on the kitchen counter and saw his brother stirring away, constantly complaining why he wasn’t in on the action. 

When it was quarter way done, my older one decided to  taste it and his face went all sorts of weird, we realized that the plums were not sweet at all, they were tart.
I had to make it work, quickly turned it into a Spicy BARBECUE sauce. Brilliant, tasted like none other. It went perfect with grilled chicken and my vegan friends enjoyed their tofu with barbecue sauce.


Go ahead and try a small batch to see how you like it and you will be making bottles before the season is over..

Plum Barbeque1

Makes 1 Quart
1hr and 30 minutes


3 lbs Red Plums
6 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger finely grated
3 thin slices lemon
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp spice pepper(or black whole pepper)
4 sage leaves
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp red chili powder
2 tsp salt 


1. Keep a large heavy or thick bottom deep pan and turn on the stove to medium heat.
2. Add the pitted plums and brown sugar.  
3. While it is coming to a boil, in a large cheese cloth add, whole lightly crushed garlic, pepper, coriander seeds, cumin seed, sage leaves, lemon slices and tie it tightly. Add the packet to the plum mixture. 
4. Add apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, finely grated ginger, red chili powder, salt and Worcestershire sauce and bring the mixture to a boil stirring continuously.
5. Turn the flame to simmer and let cook for 40-45 minutes. 
6. Turn off the heat and let cool.  
7. Once a bit cooled, take out the cheese cloth and press it hard to drain the juice and  strain the plum sauce in a large strainer so that you get a good consistency sauce without any pulp.
8. Add the strained sauce again to the same pan and bring it to simmer.  Check for spices, and add anything you want accordingly.
9.  Again simmer it for 15 more minutes and turn off the heat and cool.  
10. You could it in jars and store refrigerated for up to a month or at room temperature for a week.  
11.  You could use this with any of your favorite meats, I used chicken and tofu, both of which we enjoyed.


Marinate slices of firm tofu in the barbecue sauce for an hour and grill it in an outdoor grill or like I did in my foreman’s grill(love it). You could top with chia seeds before grilling.
Serve with some barbecue sauce on the side.