Tkemali (Plum Sauce)

This sauce is the universal condiment in Georgia, used as much as American ketchup. It is prepared in small portions or large ones for long-term keeping.

To make this sauce in America, Santa Rosa plums are recommended. The finished sauce takes on a luscious shade of pink.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds of plums (not too sweet or ripe)
1/4 cup of water
3/4 teaspoon of whole coriander seed
1 teaspoon of fennel seed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of finely minced fresh mint
1/3 cup of finely minced cilantro

Cut the plums in half and remove the pits. Place in a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the plums are soft.

In a mortar with pestle, pound together the coriander seed, fennel seed, garlic, cayenne, and salt to make a fine paste.

When plums are soft, put them through a food mill and place them into a clean pan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat, stirring for 3 minutes. Stir in the ground spices and continue cooking until the mixture thickens slightly, another 5 minutes or so. Stir in the minced mint and cilantro and remove from the heat. Pour into a jar while still hot. Either cool to room temperature or keep in refrigerator, or seal the jar for longer storage.

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