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Spicy Tomato Ketchup : The Good Soup

Spicy Tomato Ketchup
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Pesceterian
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

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

Taken from Preserving, by Oded Schwartz. Makes about 1 litre of sauce, with a shelf life 2 years if heat processed correctly.
  • 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


  1. Audrey
    February 6, 2012 at 9:41 am | | Reply

    Looks great. Where did you get those beautiful tomatoes? Thanks for the lovely tofu and tempeh class, can’t wait to get back to London to try and make some for my vegetarian daughter. the cherry jam was delish. audrey

  2. Emma Galloway
    February 6, 2012 at 11:21 am | | Reply

    Congrats on the success of your tofu/tempeh class! That’s really awesome to hear of so many meat eaters willing to learn what has been a strictly vegetarian food for so long.

    Your tomato sauce looks fab, just like how my Nana and mum make it. Aren’t those black Russians amazing? I grow them just for cooking, their flavour is so rich and intense, perfect for sauce and relish xx

  3. Kitchen Belleicious
    February 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm | | Reply

    Oh if I could get my hands on some tomatoes I swear I would make a huge batch of this right now! It looks to die for! Perfect to add to any bbq sauce!

  4. Marina@cowboycountryvegetarian
    February 7, 2012 at 3:58 am | | Reply

    I am really-really glad I found this blog. We were just today looking for a home-made ketchup recipe. We use to buy some home-made from a farmers market, but this year we ran out before the market starts. There are no fresh tomatoes in February, I am thinking on using some canned (in jars) plane tomatoes. Thank you for this post.

  5. Caffettiera
    February 7, 2012 at 9:34 am | | Reply

    You really have beautiful tomatoes at hand. And I see what you mean about the omnivores at your class (I would have loved to be one of them, by the way).

  6. Magic of Spice
    February 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm | | Reply

    What a great recipe! I have never made my own ketchup before…will give it a try :)

  7. katya zarowny
    katya zarowny
    December 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm | | Reply

    WOW! what a fantastic recipe for Russian ketchup, im a mom of 10 children and are self efficient, Are family is Russian/Ukrainian and living here in Canada isn’t easy as there isn’t many people here of my culture, thanks for the wonderful site!

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