About Food – Red Tkemali Sauce

Tkemali (Georgian ტყემალი) is the Georgian name for a variety of wild, sour plum, as well as a sauce made from the plums. Tkemali sauce is used as a condiment for fried or grilled meat, poultry and potato dishes, and has a place in Georgian cuisine similar to tomato ketchup in America. Green Tkemali sauce is prepared from unripe fruit in spring and red sauce is made from ripe plums towards the end of summer. In this recipe we show how to make red tkemali sauce.

Tkemali Sauce_3

Ingredients: 10 kilos of red (ripe) Tkemali plums.

Tkemali Plums - Copy

50 grams of Anis, 20 grams of fresh Pennyroyal (also called squaw mint, mosquito plant and pudding grass), 200 grams of green flowering coriander, 1 kilo of garlic, 200 grams of salt, 100 grams of dried coriander (it helps to preserve the sauce if you intend to store it for a long period) or 100 grams of fresh green coriander leaves, and 50 grams of dried hot red pepper. If the plums are especially sour, up to 100 grams of sugar can be added.

Ingredients - Copy

Preparation: Wash the plums and add to a deep pot. Add 3 liters of water. Heat on high temperature until the plums are boiled and then reduce the temperature to simmer the plums. Continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the plums are soft.

Add Plums to a deep pot - Copy

Remove the plums from the pot and add to a bowl. Do not discard the plum water left in the pot.

Transfer the plum water from the pot to a bowl.

Plum Juice - Copy

Place a sieve over a deep pot and add some of the plums. Firmly press the plums with a wooden spoon.

Removing Juice from the plums - Copy

Gradually add some of the plum water that was saved after boiling the plums and use a gloved hand to squash all of the pulp and juice through the sieve.

Use a glove to squash the plums - Copy

Discard the plum stones once all of the pulp and juice has been strained into the pot.

Plum stones_1 - Copy

Add more of the plum water until the consistency is smooth. You may still have some of the plum water left.

Heating the sauce - Copy

Remove the skins from the garlic and grind with a meat grinder. The garlic needs to be finely ground.

Prepare the garlic - Copy

Wash the Pennyroyal and remove the flowers and tiny leaves with your fingers. Crush the flowers and leaves. Do not discard the stalks.

Removing Seeds - Copy

Add the crushed Pennyroyal flowers and leaves, together with 100 grams of dried coriander or 100 grams of fresh green coriander leaves, ground garlic and 200 grams of salt to a mixing bowl. Add to the pot containing the sieved plums and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Add ingredients to mixing bowl - Copy

Tightly bind together the individual bundles of green flowering coriander, Anis and Pennyroyal stalks with cotton.

Bundle of Ingredients - Copy

Add the bundled green flowering coriander, Anis and Pennyroyal stalks, together with 50 grams of dried hot red pepper to the pot containing the sieved plums.

Adding Ingredients and Red Pepper - Copy

Push the bundle below the surface of the liquid. Heat on a very low heat for 40 minutes.

Adding bundle of ingredients - Copy

If you intend to use the tkemali over a short period, allow it to cool down before bottling. Store in the refrigerator. To keep tkemali for long periods without refrigeration, prepare the bottles by washing thoroughly and leaving until they are completely dry. Half fill a tall pot with water. Add the bottles. Heat on a low to medium temperature for 15 minutes. Place the plastic caps that will be used to seal the bottles in boiling water. Fill each bottle to the top with hot tkemali sauce and seal immediately with one of the plastic caps that has been boiled and dried. This bottling method allows the tkemali to be stored for long periods in a cool, dark place without the need for refrigeration.

bottles - Copy

Serving: Tkemali sauce can be served with meat, poultry and potato dishes.

Tkemali Sauce ready for serving - Copy

Enjoy your Tkemali Sauce!

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2 Responses to “About Food – Red Tkemali Sauce”
  1. Christine says:

    I wish we could find the sour plums here, but really, no luck…Maybe unripe “mirabelles”, but it’s not quite the same thing.
    As far as “orbalo”, or pennyroyal, that is a toughy too…Too bad, because tremali is such a favorite in this family…Maybe we need to start exporting the stuff? 🙂

  2. dogdaz says:

    Really interesting. Not sure I could ale that in eastern us.

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