Ketchup is one such magical food stuff which adds life to our food experience. Typically composed of tomatoes, vinegar, seasonings, spices and sugar/sweetener, it’s everyone’s favourite accompaniment. Think of pakodas, burgers, fries, onion rings, omelettes, pizzas, etc without a generous serving of ketchup by the side. Quite dull, isn’t it? Ketchup is one of those foods which fits in the ‘umami,’ meaning ‘the fifth taste or savoury’ category perfectly. However, in earlier times, ketchup was made up of anything but tomatoes – shallots, oyster, lemons, walnuts, etc.
Now, a bit from the pages of history: In the 1600s, British and Dutch sea men presented a salty pickled fish sauce, called ‘ketsiap,’ which tasted like a cross between an oyster sauce and soy sauce. This is what we know as the tomato ketchup today. Where the ingredients and spellings kept developing with time. You’ll be surprised to know that in the year 1690 it was known as ‘catchup.’ It was only by the year 1711 that the term ‘ketchup’ became popular. This condiment was also used as a medicine in the year 1835, as it was believed that tomatoes could cure illnesses like diarrhoea, jaundice and indigestion!
Ketchup hacks that are a boon!
There is much more to tomato ketchup than just being a fab sauce to go as a popular pairing with some of the most delish dishes. Here are some ketchup hacks that can sort your cooking issues in minutes. Try ‘em!
Fix a runny curry or soup
There are several instances where a curry or soup turns out to be too watery. Don’t stress anymore! Ketchup comes as a rescue ranger in bringing the right thickness. All you need to do is add a little bit of tomato ketchup and stir the curry or soup well.
Reduce spiciness in food
Cooking requires considerable patience, striking the right balance between spices to get the desired taste. However, if even one of the factors goes for a toss, it ruins all the efforts instantly. So, next time your dish turns extra fiery, try adding some tomato ketchup in it. Everything will be sorted in no time!
Use it as a marinade
Tomato ketchup is solely awesome in itself, then just imagine how good it will be as a base in a recipe. Wish to see the magic weaved with ketchup to make a gorgeous marinade? Mix it with some chopped onions, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and water, as required. Now, marinate your proteins or veggies in it for about 8 hours. Cook ‘em up and enjoy a lovely meal.
Prepare an easy cocktail sauce
Want to try something different? Make an amazing cocktail sauce by mixing tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and lemon juice. It goes best with seafood. Rest, you too can try pairing it with different dishes of your choice.
Make your own BBQ sauce
This hack is especially helpful when you run out of a barbeque sauce. Just mix up tomato ketchup with brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and enjoy the flavours of your most loved dishes.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.