Sour Plum Sauce (Tkemali)

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Sour Plum Sauce (Tkemali) is Georgian (Russian) in origin and is easily found ready made in Russian neighborhoods. It is the Georgian equivalent to catsup- although it has a much more complex flavor. Both catsup and Sour Plum Sauce (Tkemali) have fruit as their base-tomatoes for catsup and sour plums for Tkemali. As sour plums are not so easy to find all year round, I developed this recipe adding herbs and spices etc. to plum preserves. Make it at least one day in advance so that the flavors have a chance to mellow. You don’t have to just use this sauce on  Armenian Meatballs. Use it on everything!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Sour Plum Sauce

By Gloria Kobrin Published: January 5, 2015

  • Yield:

  • 1 cup


  • 13 ounces plum preserves
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large Garlic Cloves peeled and crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves stemmed, minced, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup cilantro stemmed, minced, rinsed


  • 1 medium saucepan non-reactive


  1. Scrape preserves into saucepan. Add lemon juice, garlic and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for several minutes. Taste. Add more lemon juice if desired. Stir in minced herbs. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.