My Blog List

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stir-fry with plum sauce

Please welcome author Cheryl Norman who shares with us a wonderful stir-fry recipe with a plum sauce she created. The thing I like about stir-fry is that you can choose the ingredients to suit your tastes—I never include bell pepper. Cheryl offers some really good hints, like don’t get that wok as hot as some chefs advise. But the glory of this recie is the plum sauce—heavenly, and I’m quite sure I’d never have invented it.


 I think of myself as a creative person, and let’s hope I am since I’m a writer. ☺
Just as a fiction writer blends elements to weave an engaging story, a thrifty cook can whip up a meal without a special trip to the supermarket. I like to think I can do either. So for today’s potluck, I offer you stir-fry with plum sauce.
A stir-fry is a good way to use up what’s aging in your crisper drawer, which is why my stir-fry dishes are never the same. Today, for example, I had red, yellow, and orange bell peppers and some celery that needed to be used within the next couple of days. I added fresh mushrooms and onion, plus some leftover chicken. Using up produce makes me feel clever and frugal.
Today I took my creativity a step further and made my own plum sauce, too. Plums are in season, and I bought three yesterday at the store. The rest of what I needed was in my kitchen (I keep fresh peeled ginger root in my freezer). So here are my recipes.
I started the plum sauce first since it needed to simmer about thirty minutes, which gave me plenty of time to prep and assemble the ingredients for the stir-fry. The stir-fry method goes fast, so it’s important to have everything ready before heating the wok.

·           3 plums, washed, seeded, sliced*
·           2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I buy low sodium)
·           Zest of 1 lemon
·           Juice of 1 lemon
·           ½ tsp. salt
·           1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
·           1 Tbsp. grated or minced garlic
·           Pepper to taste
·           ¼ cup brown sugar
·           2 Tbsp. honey
·           1 Tbsp. water
·           Fresh herbs (Optional, but I like spearmint and cilantro)


1.     Combine all ingredients except fresh herbs into a two-quart covered saucepan.

2.     Heat gently over low heat for at least thirty minutes or until plums slump and sauce thickens.

3.     Remove from heat and stir in optional fresh herbs.

4.     Use to finish stir-fry by tossing with cooked ingredients.

Yield: One cup plum sauce

Note: *Peeling the plums is optional. I peeled them today, but I think I like the color added from keeping the peels intact. It’s up to you.

·           4 cups julienned or roughly chopped assorted vegetables (Your choice, but try to include peppers and onions in the mix.
·           1 cup poultry or seafood, your choice, cut in bite-size pieces
·           1 Tbsp. peanut oil
·           2 cups cooked brown rice (or your choice)


1.    Preheat oil in wok or large skillet over medium heat (don’t believe the TV chefs that tell you the wok must be screaming hot).

2.    Add vegetables in batches every two minutes, starting with those with the longest cooking time, until all are heated.

3.    Using tongs, toss the vegetables often until they begin to soften.

4.    Add protein of your choice: shrimp, cubed tofu, chicken, etc. to the center of the wok, moving the vegetables up the sides and away from the hottest part of the pan.

5.    Toss frequently until protein is cooked or warmed.

6.    Remove from heat. Toss stir-fry with the warm plum sauce and serve over cooked brown rice if desired.

Yield:  Two meal size servings without rice/ Four meals with rice

Cheryl Norman’s latest book is Running Out of Time (Turquoise Morning Press):

On her way to her best friend's wedding, Stacy experiences a time jump. Fifty years in the past, she meets the man of her dreams. But when she figures out why she has time travelled, she faces a difficult dilemma: can she save his life by sacrificing her future?