Sunday, June 6, 2010


I didn't realize the significance of ketchup until I got to Sweden. In India, it's quite popular - local restaurants put moderately sweetened ketchup (instead of tomato sauce) on bread and douse it with green peppers, onion and cheese and call it pizza - it is delicious. Then I have a very fond memory of being in my grandparent's kitchen helping my mom's sister make real ketchup at home. I remember how she poured 2 giant bottles with a funnel and then we ate it with her homemade samosas and it was the best ketchup (and samosa) I ever tasted. In America, well, of course it's the most common and ultra sweet condiment and has contributed to my sugar addiction. Ketchup gets snubbed often but I think it's useful and flavorful in its own right, and contributes well to Chinese sauces as well as most dishes to perk up the flavor.

Now that I'm older and a little more health conscious, and because I've never lost the lovely memory of my aunt making her own ketchup, I decided it was time to make my own. This does not have harmful preservatives or thickeners and has a quarter of the sugar you'd find in a store-bought bottle. So if you're addicted to ketchup, then might as well have a conscientious one.

I'm still working on the recipe because I want it to taste like my aunt's but I have to ask her the recipe, if possibly she still has it! Until then, this suffices. 

2 bottles

3 tbs olive oil
800 g (28 oz) organic Italian tomatoes in can
1 big apple, peeled, cored and grated
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1 large onion (1 cup chopped)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves or 1/8 tsp cloves powder
1/2 tsp allspice powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder (opt)
2 - 3 tsp salt
Freshy ground black pepper

In a heavy bottom pan, saute onion in olive oil until soft, then add apple, garlic and all the spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium or medium low heat until disintegrated, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and vinegar and cook for 30-40 minutes, until well thickened.

Let it cool slightly, then blend until smooth. Pour into sterilized bottles (I boil the clean bottles for 15 minutes and make sure that both the sauce and the bottle is hot when I pour the ketchup into the bottles. Please read about sterilizing before you do this because if the bottle is not sterilized you could end up poisoning yourself.

It should stay sealed in the pantry for 6 months and perhaps 3 months in the fridge. 

Makes 1 large bottle. I used 1 1/2 bottles since I didn't have two of the same size bottles.

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