There were only 2 vegetarians in my first tofu and tempeh class on the weekend, which was surprisingly pleasing to me. Don’t take this as a slight, vegetarians. I’ve got nothing against you, nothing at all. I admire your diets, trimmed of flesh and laterally searching. If I didn’t love meat so much, I’d wear the vegetarian diet proudly (and actually have done, despite my bloody cravings, for many years. Now, I eat my animals carefully sourced, and encourage other meat eaters to do the same.)
No, what pleased me was that most of my class was made up of omnivores. Omnivores choosing to venture into soy bean territory, a land so many Australian meat eaters ignore, hiding their flavour ignorance behind disdain. This recipe is to say thank you to all you adventurous omnivores. It’s a sauce for the careful source-ers amongst us: homemade ketchup. Tomato ketchup. Damn good ketchup. As good on a sausage as a slice of tempeh. Spoon it into pasta sauces for an extra bite, or add it to a stew or curry. What ever you do, make LOADS of it, because way too soon you’ll be reaching into the spidery corners of your pantry hoping to catch hold of one final forgotten jar. And it won’t be there.
Spicy Tomato Ketchup
- 2kg ripe, red tomatoes
- 500g shallots or onions, peeled
- 75g fresh ginger, peeled
- 6 garlic cloves peeled
- 3-4 chillies, deseeded (optional, if you want a milder ketchup)
- 6 celery stalks with leaves (use garden grown leafy celery, if you have it)
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp crumbled mace blades
- 250ml cider vinegar
- 75g soft brown or white sugar (if you want a sweeter ketchup, use 100g)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
Coarsely chop the tomatoes, shallots (or onions), ginger, garlic and chillies in a food processor if you’ve got one, or by hand if you don’t. Place the coriander seeds, cloves and mace blades in a spice bag or tea infuser. Tie up the celery stalks.
Put the mixture in a non reactive saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25minutes, or until the onions and shallots are translucent. Remove the celery and spice bag and press the tomato mixture through a food mill.
Return it to the cleaned saucepan and bring to the boil again, cooking for another hour, or until the mixture has reduced by half.
Measure how much puree you’ve got and add the vinegar, sugar, salt and paprika accordingly. Boil for another hour, stirring frequently, until the mixture is quite thick.
Pour into hot sterilized bottles and seal, then heat process if you would like to store the ketchup for a long time. The ketchup is ready immediately, but improves with time.
Serve with grilled tempeh, hamburgers, guacamole and corn chips, or use to flavour soups, stews and pasta sauces