Amazing, tangy, sweet, and sour Chinese plum sauce noodles with juicy chicken and crispy veggies. The sauce is made with fresh plums and aromatic spices. It doesn’t taste fruity – the plums add a deep, complex flavor and naturally thicken the sauce. I like to pack lots of veggies into my stir-fries, but really just one vegetable will also do.
Vegetables – as mentioned above, I packed this recipe with many different kinds of veggies but you could choose just one kind (I would choose broccoli or broccoli+mushrooms).
Plums – any kind will do but my favorite for this recipe are Prune plums / European plums (so not this type of plums shown on the photo below).
Spices – I used whole star anise and cardamom but you could add Chinese five spice mix instead.
Chicken – use chicken breast or boneless and skinless chicken thighs. You could also use beef (like a flank steak, which is great for stir-fries).
How to make it step by step:
Start with the Chinese plum sauce:
STEP 1: Simply add all the ingredients for the sauce into a medium pot (fresh plums without the stone, star anise, cardamom, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and soy sauce).
STEP 2: Cook for about 20 minutes. The plums should fall apart.
STEP 3: Discard the cardamom and star anise and puree the sauce until smooth.
Make sure to taste the sauce and season it more if some flavor is lacking. If it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar, not sour enough – vinegar, and if it’s not salty enough – soy sauce. It should be lightly sweet, bold-tasting, and noticeably tangy. When we add all the other ingredients, its flavor will mellow.
Chinese plum sauce is a perfect stir fry sauce but you could also use it as a dipping sauce with duck, spring rolls or various types of dumplings.
Next, make the stir fry:
STEP 4: Cook the noodles, broccoli, and green beans in a pot (not shown on the photos). Cook the chicken in the pan, transfer to a plate.
STEP 5: Cook the mushrooms and carrots.
STEP 6: Assemble: add all the components to the pan and toss everything with the sauce.
Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and cashew nuts.
As with any stir fry, this dish tastes best freshly made. You could store it in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat it in the pan. It will still taste good but the noodles will be completely soggy from the sauce. A better option would be to store everything separately from the sauce, then combine and warm up just before serving.
Similar recipes you may like:
- Sweet and sour chicken with noodles and vegetables
- Sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and bell paprika
- Peanut chicken noodles
- Chicken chow mein
Chinese plum sauce noodles with chicken and veggies
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→ chinese plum sauce:
- 11 oz (300g) plums any kind will work
- 3 star anise
- 4 cardamom capsules lightly crushed
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger grated
- 4.5 oz (125g) dried egg noodles Mie noodles or ramen noodles
- handful of frozen green beans 5.5oz/125g
- ½ broccoli head 250g / 8.8 oz
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 inch (2cm) piece of ginger
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch optional
- 2 tablespoons frying oil
- 6 medium button mushrooms (about 3.5 oz/100g), cut into thick slices
- 1 medium carrot cut into thin matchsticks
→ to serve:
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons cashews I used salted and roasted
→ make the plum sauce:
- Cut the plums into quarters, remove the stone, put into a medium pot, add the remaining ingredients for the sauce.
- Cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the plums start to fall apart and the sauce thickens.
- Discard star anise and cardamom capsules and puree the sauce until smooth.
- Season to taste: add more sugar, vinegar, or soy sauce depending on whether it’s not enough sweet, sour, or salty (it will depend on the type of plums used). The taste should be balanced and distinctive (it will mellow a bit later when we will add other ingredients). Set aside.
→ pot (cook the noodles, broccoli, and green beans):
- I cook green beans, noodles, and broccoli in one pot – noodles and green beans in water and I steam the broccoli in a sieve, hung over the pot (you can also add the broccoli to the water, cook it as long as the beans and noodles). Split the broccoli into florets, peel the thick stalk and cut into thick slices, wash, arrange the broccoli, florets-side-up on a sieve, which fits the selected pot, cover with a lid (it doesn‘t have to be a perfect fit). Broccoli, depending on the size of the florets, need to be steamed for about 8 minutes.
- In a big pot, bring water to the boil, steam the broccoli for about 4 minutes, then add the green beans and noodles into the water, cook for about 4 minutes. Drain, set aside.
→ pan (cook the chicken, mushrooms, and carrot):
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch (2-3 cm) cubes, mix with a little oil, finely chopped ginger and garlic, season with salt and pepper to taste (if you have time, you can leave the chicken to marinate for about half an hour or longer). Toss the chicken with cornstarch (optional).
- Heat the oil in a big frying pan, cook the chicken over high heat for 2 minutes on one side and then one minute on the other, until browned, remove from the pan and transfer on a plate (if it’s still a bit pink in the middle, you can add it to the pot with hot plum sauce and wait 1-2 minutes until the meat is cooked through).
- Add the mushrooms to the pan, spread out in a single layer, then put carrot matchsticks on top. Don‘t stir for the first 2 minutes (otherwise the mushrooms will release water), and when the mushrooms are golden brown cook them, stirring, for about 1-2 minutes, until the mushrooms and carrots are tender, but still crunchy.
- Add the chicken, noodles, green beans, broccoli, and plum sauce to the pan, toss everything together, warm up.
- Serve topped with roasted cashews and sesame seeds.
- Storage: As with any stir fry, this dish tastes best freshly made. You could store it in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat it in the pan. It will still taste good but the noodles will be completely soggy from the sauce. A better option would be to store everything separately from the sauce, then combine and warm up just before serving.
- Calories = 1 serving (1/3 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
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