My Go-To Sauce (Video)

Red plums.

 The Red Plum Version

The classic film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” has gobs of quotable scenes.   In one memorable exchange, All American Burger employee Brad Hamilton is teaching new hire Arnold how to construct the true All American burger.

Two fast food employees discussing burger composition.
Brad Hamilton (left) teaches Arnold how to construct a burger

“Tomatoes, shredded lettuce, secret sauce,” Brad nonchalantly says.   Arnold interrupts him, passionately asking Brad, “What’s the secret sauce?”  Brad replies, “Thousand Island dressing.”  He then asks, “What’s the secret sauce at Bronco Burger?” “Ketchup and mayonnaise,” Arnold replies dejectedly. “Gotcha,” Brad cavalierly declares.

This sauce has no secrets and contains neither ketchup nor mayonnaise.  It’s more of a condiment, similar to a puréed chutney.  Take a look at the video to see how the sauce comes together.

The sauce/condiment is more of a method than a true recipe.  It contains five components: fruit, sugar, vinegar, aromatics and spices/herbs. 

Red plums looked especially good at the market so that’s what this version uses.  However, any fruit with body-mangoes, apples or strawberries work with fantastic results.

Mangoes, apples and strawberries.

Like the fruit, the vinegar is flexible as well.  A clear vinegar like rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar works best.

The aromatics are as adaptable as the vinegar.  Since the sauce emulates a chutney, I used the classic combination of shallots, garlic and ginger.  A few chiles for heat always work well.

Last, you can modify the spices to suit your taste.  Cumin and mustard appear quite frequently in chutneys, so they turn up in this version as well.  Again, any spice that you enjoy-coriander, cinnamon, star anise, is fair game. 

Cinnamon, coriander and star anise.
From left: Cinnamon, coriander and star anise

The finished sauce is quite versatile, adding that je ne sais quoi to chicken, lamb or pork.  Moreover, you can toss the sauce with pasta or use it as a dressing for a grain salad.  Even better, the condiment adds flavor whether it’s hot, cold or room temperature.

My Mom offered a bona fide testimonial to the sauce’s virtues.  At dinner, she put some of the condiment on a Walmart rotisserie chicken.  “It’s better than ketchup,” she announced.  Summoning the essence of Brad Hamilton at All American Burger, I proudly declared, “Gotcha.”

Makes one cup puréed sauce and 2 cups chunky “chutney”.

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

¼ cup sugar

1 shallot, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves

1½ teaspoons chopped ginger

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

3 thyme sprigs

1 pound (455 grams) red plums, pits removed and coarsely chopped

Add all of the ingredients except the plums to a mediums sauce pot.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the plums and simmer for 20 minutes.  If you like a chunky condiment, let the “chutney” cool, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. However, if you favor a puréed sauce, blend the mixture until smooth.  If you want to get really fancy, strain the sauce and pour it in a squeeze bottle. 

The sauce/chutney/condiment will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

6 thoughts on “My Go-To Sauce (Video)

  1. This sounds so good! I have never cooked plums before, but this makes me want to try! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sheila! As good as plums are raw, jazzing them up with other good stuff highlights their natural qualities. Thanks for reading!😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like a tasty sauce! Will definitely add this to my notes and give a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tasty and versatile, Leif. Thanks for reading and let me know how yours turns out!


  3. Nice looking sauce. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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