Tkemali (Georgian Plum Sauce)


  • 1 lb. Red or yellow plums or a combination
  • 1/2 pod Star anise
  • 1 tsp. Fennel seeds
  • 1 T Mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 T Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 Large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. (approx.) Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Red chili flakes, or more if mild
  • Sugar, as needed


Wash and stem plums, put in a small pot and add enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Strain, remove pits; reserve liquid. The strained plums should have the texture of thin tomato soup; stir in reserved liquid if needed.

Grind star anise with fennel seeds in a spice grinder and add the plums with remaining ingredients except sugar. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is as thick as ketchup, about 30 minutes. Season with more salt to taste, along with sugar, if desired. 

Chef Vitaly Paley, Imperial, Portland, Oregon, from Food Fanatics® magazine