6.08.2019

a.k.a. Ketchup

Where, exactly, did ketchup originate? Naturally, I started with my go-to source for everything: Markipedia. He said he thought it was Indonesian in origin.

The other Pedia, whose first name is Wiki, talks about Chinese origins and that it was a fish-based sauce.

Wiki went on to say that there is also evidence of it being Malaysian or Singaporean, where it is known as kecap (pronounced kay-chop).

Okay, I will accept that, but kecap manis, which is a thick, dark sauce from Indonesia sounds an awful lot like the kecap from Malaysia and Singapore... which are just a hop, skip, and a jump from Indonesia.

Could Markipedia have been right all along? It wouldn’t surprise me.

After all that history, it does beg the questions to Mr. Heinz: “Where did you get this tomato idea? And what happened to the fish?”

When making a pheasant salad with our Italian friends Annamaria and Giuseppe (stay tuned - I will be posting it here soon!), the recipe called for “salsa rubra” - or red sauce - which they said was, basically, ketchup.

There was no way that I was going to make their special family recipe using store bought ketchup. So I took matters into my own hands and made this Salsa Rubra - a.k.a. Ketchup. We find it delicious in lieu of store-bought ketchup.

~ David

Salsa Rubra

1 1/2 pounds ripe grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup low-acid herb wine vinegar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1 teaspoons black pepper
scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
scant 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


In a wide skillet, simmer tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and spices until thick and most liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Run it through a food mill into a nonstick pan and continue to cook down until thickened to your preferred consistency, another 5-8 minutes. Remember that when it cools, it will be slightly thicker than when it is hot in the pan.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.





40 comments:

  1. Looks delicious - how long do you think is the fridge life?

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    1. Thanks, Jill! It has down very well for a couple of months in my friedge.

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  2. Fantastic, David ! Shall be made and tried soonest! Have an idea that a tad more cloves and cinnamon will find their way into this ? You have written the ketchup saga up very succinctly: it is quite a tale ! Kecap manis is like salt and pepper here - I would use it at least 3-4 times a week in spite of all the sugar in it . . . it just suits so many cuisines besides Indonesian, as I am cure your salsa rubra will . . .

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    1. We use kecap manis all the time - yes, a lot of sugar, but also a lot of flavor! I made another batch last evening for burgers and, per your suggestion, added more cloves and cinnamon, and less salt. Excellent!

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  3. I think I'll be trying this one out, too, and I'm sure it would freeze ok. I don't have a mill, so I guess I'd be squishing it through my sieve!

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    1. Squishing it through a sieve is a great way to do it, John. I once made ketchup by peeling and seeding tons of Roma tomatoes - what a pain. This route is much better!

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  4. That sounds delicious and MUCH better than the stuff from a squeeze bottle.

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  5. I have to try this, David! I always say hot dogs and potatoes are just vehicles to carry ketchup to my mouth!

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    1. I am so glad to hear you say you use it on hot dogs. I love that, too, but so many people are "mustard-only" types when it comes to wieners!

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  6. I actually had always heard that ketchup came from China, but the word was originally Malay. Or something like that. I haven't looked into it too much, as ketchup might be my least favorite condiment. I find the flavor of the store-bought stuff too overwhelming.

    And I have one really painful memory associated with it, the time years ago I was working in Moscow and made some fettuccine al doppio burro for some Russian friends. (Made the pasta by hand, mind you.) Well, my friends decided that ketchup was just what the pasta needed, and proceeded to douse it liberally all over their plates. That was the last time I cooked for them!

    Salsa rubra, on the other hand, sounds like a lovely accompaniment to boiled meats and such.

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    1. Oh, Frank - your traumatic memory resonates so clearly with me. That is simply sacrilege!

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  7. Fun and informitive post you've given us today. It's my belief that the Markapedia was 95% correct on this one. My personal belief is that it did originate in China and made it's way to Indochina where it began it's the evolution into today's ketchup. I've had the traditional Chinese "ke-chiap" and it's good but far different from Heinz for sure. But, then so is Swedish ketchup. I think that's what makes this condiment so much fun, it's different through different cultures. As they say some call it ketchup, some call it catsup but I call it delicious.

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    1. I always thought catsup was an old-fashioned spelling and that ketchup was new. But it may be the other way around... but, as you imply, Ron, who cares? It is tasty!

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  8. It's a relief to find this from scratch version since my son really enjoys ketchup with street food ! Thank you David !

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    1. The fun thing is that you can spice it any way your son likes it, Davorka!

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  9. ... and Russians are crazy for their own version of ketchup! I'm sure they'd love this one too. GREG

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  10. This looks so good, and I love your photos! I've only made it once, plus the curried ketchup. So much better than bottled which, of course, isn't surprising! I'm reading a steven raichlen book right now of sauces and such, and just came across a Worcestershire sauce recipe! Maybe I'll find hoisin in the book.

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    1. Mimi - I have been making Worcestershire sauce fro more than two decades - thanks to my garlic allergy. It is SO much better! Let me know if you find a good hoisin recipe...

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  11. Cloves, cinnamon, and allspice? Love that! We're really low-volume ketchup users -- maybe half of the smallest bottle in a year of heavy consumption -- but this sounds like it's worth making just to eat by the spoonful. :-)

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    1. Well, it certainly becomes a more interesting condiment when homemade, John. Not sure of the spoonful, but... why not?

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  12. I canned ketchup for my Year of Eating Locally. Seem to have misplaced the recipe but I believe it had spices like the cloves, etc. It was a godsend but definitely a little different!

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    1. The thing I like about this is that it is a small batch and doesn't take much time. So many ketchup recipes take forever!

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  13. I'm asking myself why I've never made homemade ketchup -- especially when one of my sons used to put it on everything. Including pasta (GASP!). Love this recipe and it seems like it is something that should be at the ready at all times. I will try it and double the batch. :-)

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    1. OMG, Valentine - did you read Frank's comment? I can't believe your son used it on pasta. Although it does remind me of my poorest times as a musician making ketchup soup. Ick.

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  14. Well this just sounds delicious. What a treat! A little wasted in a bacon sandwich I feel but hopefully you've got enough spare to give it a try!!

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  15. Ooh, I love that copper pan of yours- would look great for a photo shoot! And BTW, your 'ketchup' recipe looks great, too. The only store-bought sauce that is better than homemade (in my opinion), is Barbecue Sauce - particularly Trader Joes. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to produce a better result. Oh well, not to worry!

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    1. Fran - Having copper measuring cups, little brass bowls, and other objets d’art makes blogging photography much more fun! I would never know about BBQ sauces, because they all contain my nemesis… Garlic!

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  16. David, there were ketchups before the ketchup we know (tomatoes, vinegar, etc), but to me Mr Heinz's idea was the best. As long as it doesn't contain corn syrup, and many do. Your homemade version looks and sounds wonderful, worthy of any special family recipe.

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    1. It’s true, Jean… corn syrup is in everything these days! I’m glad I make most things at home.

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  17. I've been wanting to get motivated and give making my own ketchup a go for years, and I still haven't done it :) Now I've got an amazing recipe to get me started. I love the spices you used in this, David! Can't wait! <3

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    1. The nice thing about this recipe, myself, is that it’s really fast and you can do it in less than a half hour.

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  18. Dear David, I made ketchup before using a recipe from a German cookbook author (Stevan Paul) and I did think that it was worth the time it took to prepare it. Your version looks wonderfully delicious and I can see where you would want to prepare homemade ketchup when preparing one of your friend's recipes.
    Ich hoffe, das Wetter ist nicht zu heiƟ bei euch!
    Andrea

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    1. Andrea - the nice thing about this recipe is how quick it is!

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  19. i love that gorgeous little spoon. and i'm sure this ketchup is the bomb too! cheers sherry

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    1. That is one of my favorite spoons, Sherry! It was a gift from a very good friend last Christmas… And you are correct! This ketchup is “the bomb!“

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