This was a science experiment that turned out perfectly delicious. I actually didn't set out to make ketchup. I was going to make a tomato jam. But I just kept adding things and tasting and it got to a point where I decided it would be better pureed into a ketchup and spiced up a little. I had a bottled curry ketchup a few years ago that was like a revelation. It had never occurred to me that ketchup could taste like anything other than the ordinary stuff we all grew up on. So once I finally realized what I was making, that was the flavor I decided to aim for. As with everything - if you start googling ketchup recipes, you'll find a million of them, all very similar, but with variations. It's surprisingly simple to make a basic ketchup - so much so that it is now one of those many things that I find myself wondering why I've never made it before. This one has a lot of ingredients because I was going for something unique, - but my kids have now requested that I make some 'regular' home made ketchup, so I will be trying that soon as well too.
This one has an orange-ish color because I used the last of my yellow summer tomatoes for it. We had reached the point where the plants were dying fast and all the fruit needed to be picked and cooked ASAP. I had a big pot of both red & yellow varieties, ranging in ripeness all the way from mostly green to very ripe. It would be much more red if I had used all red tomatoes.
I tried to write things down as I went along, so that maybe there was some chance of repeating this again. So here, roughly, is what I put in:
- a large pot of tomatoes, several varieties, ranging from almost green to very ripe
- 2 onions
- 2 sweet red bell peppers
- about a cup of sugar
- 4-5 teaspoons of salt
- olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
I sautéed the onions, peppers & garlic in some olive oil until soft and caramelizing. Then basically put that in the pot with everything else and let it all simmer for hours. The seasoning was added gradually as I kept tasting it. I pureed the whole mess of it in batches in my Vitamix. I don't bother to peel or seed - the Vitamix takes care of all that. And then simmered longer until it thickened a bit and had consistency and flavor that I liked. I think that once you get the basic combination of what really makes ketchup - tomatoes, a little something sweet (sugar), something tangy (lemon juice and vinegar) and seasoning, then you can do whatever you want from there. I personally might have gone for just a little more spice, but I was holding out some hope that my kids would eat this. Which they did, but they didn't love it like I loved it.
Now I am planning meals around ketchup. And I have discovered a whole new thing to be experimenting with cooking more of.