13 February, 2008

Ketchup: Let's Get Jiggy With It

Poma amoris. Pomme D'amor. Love-apples. Long thought to be an aphrodesiac. Why not?

They make food sing and dance. Pizza arias, mozzarella duets, pasta sonatas, and ketchup jigs.

Ketchup. Let's stop right there. I love ketchup, just like my Dad did. He even liked it on fried eggs, and I have to say I agree it's one of the best pairings around. Ketchup cuts grease, plain and simple.

I could eat it on most anything, but I like it on French fries the most. Just can't enjoy them the same way without it, though there are two problems with that in Japan.

1. It's hard to get a hold of good ketchup.

2. You might have to postpone indefinitely your next vacation if you need to eat it every day. (It costs a lot, especially the big H.)

Fortunately, I don't. I love it but I can wait until the next French fry freak-out before I really need a fix.

Or so I thought until I tried the recipe for homemade ketchup in Joy of Cooking.

Just for fun I decided to spice it up and make a chunky-funky chili version that I could use as a condiment with Indian foods.

What I got was a pretty assertive and revelatory love-apple sauce to love. After I made a potato, cauliflower and daikon Indian -style dish to go with it, I loved it even better.

Here now, for an alternative to those sickly chocolate recipes that you're all scarfing down before you sink into hot baths with scented candles and sip wine with your SigO's, you poor babes, is the recipe for, Let's Get Jiggy With It Ketchup, just 'cause sometime you're gonna have to come down from those sugar highs and eat REAL food again. And maybe do a jig.

Happy Valentine's!

Let's get Jiggy With It Ketchup (Gluten-free)
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

This is a small recipe. It makes a bit more than 320 g or a couple of cups

Put in a saucepan and heat:

1 bottle Hikari tomato puree (or 320 g, maybe 2 cups, of any good tomato puree)

Add (I used the food processor):

1 small fresh yellow or white onion, minced
2 dried hot long red peppers and 1 dried bonnet pepper (or 2-3 small hot red peppers), minced
1/4 cup celery leaves, washed and minced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup water

Simmer until the vegetables are soft, a few minutes, then add:

1/2 to 2/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar and:

1/2 -1 tsp ground mace

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp garam masala

1/2-1 tsp ground black pepper
I ground most of these from whole spices, including a 2 inch / 3 cm piece of cinnamon stick, in a clean coffee grinder for popping good flavour)

Simmer the ketchup covered (it will spit as it reduces) about 20 minutes or so, adding a bit more water if necessary.

Add 1/2 cup cider vinegar and about 1 tsp salt and simmer up to 10 minutes more.

Wash and scald out the hikari bottle or a jar with boiling water, not forgetting the cap, and fill with a funnel and ladle. Leave about a half-inch of headroom. Cap it and allow it to cool before keeping it in the refrigerator*. I'll probably finish it in a few weeks. In fact, I know I will.

It was just about heaven on a fried organic egg with genmai for this Valentine's Day breakfast. In fact that's dancing in my belly right now, kicking the cold right to the kerb. But I would also try it with any Indian food instead of a chutney.
And what a great excuse to make some home made french fries soon. You know I'll be jigging up a storm the day I make that combination.

*Note: If you want to keep it longer, please see instructions for sterilizing and bottling from any good cookbook on canning. The general idea is to scald the jars and lids in a boiling water bath before filling them in a big pan on the stove and then the filled and capped jars in the same bath for around twenty minutes. All the instruments, spoons and ladles etc. that will touch the sauce need to be sterilized in the same way.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora e hoa VJ,
Cheers for the ideas with the egg plants. I might actually try the diced one tonight as well as the slice with cheese on top. They both sound excellent. I will let you know how they turnout. I might give the ketchup a go sometime as well, as me and the boys love chips with lashings of ketchup. Have a great day.
Ka kite,

Alpa said...

Hey! I remember my mom & aunts making ketchup every summer in india. Yours looks absolutely divine!

vegetablej said...

Hi Robb:

Those ideas are just off the top of my head. You can also throw the cubes into a vegetable soup. But I would also check for eggplant recipes on the web if you still have some left.

The ketchup is pretty spicy with french fries. I tried it this week-end and liked it but I think it is better with something like samosas, or dry curries. It might not be the best choice for kids.

I just read your latest blog and I'll be over to comment later. It was very moving. Your boys are beautiful, and your wife too. :)

vegetablej said...


It must have been lovely to see ketchup made in a home kitchen in India.It really should be with fresh tomatoes and next summer, I really want to try it that way.

Thanks for stopping by! :)