Easy Homemade Ketchup

This recipe is very near and dear to me. It’s my late Nani’s (Maternal Grandmother’s) recipe and it’s something we all enjoyed growing up. It’s not your classic thick and sharp Heinz ketchup. It’s more of a desi ketchup, think the ketchup served in bazaars (markets) with those chaat masala fries. A little more sweet, spiced with laal mirch(cayenne) and bhuna va zeera (toasted cumin seeds), and it is absolutely delicious. It goes perfect with your classic trolley foods; samosas, sandwiches, fried chicken, pakoray and so much more.

The ingredient list is simple. You’d actually be shocked that it takes so little to make ketchup. The process requires a few steps, but it’s not something very tedious, and it’s not like you make ketchup every day. The batch lasts me about 3 weeks, and you can always double the batch. It stays fresh in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. After that, it really depends on how you’ve been using it, and what season you make it in. It lasts much longer in the winter as compared to summers.

I prefer using Roma tomatoes for this, but if you use others it’s fine. IN fact, this time I couldn’t find fresh Romas so I got another type. Roma tomatoes just give a very red hue and also have a slightly more concentrated flavor. Although I’m giving measurements, it really depends on your personal preference. Some don’t add as much sugar, or like it a little less sharp. I would say start off by using the smaller measurement then working your way up according to taste.

For approx. 2 cups ketchup you will need:

2 pounds tomatoes, roma preferred

1/3-1/2 cup sugar

2-3 Tblspn vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp kashmiri laal march

1 tsp coarsely ground cumin seeds

There are two ways to get the skin off the tomatoes. You can blanch them in boiling water or steam them. Cut a small ‘x’ on the top and bottom of the tomatoes, then steam them or blanch them in boiling water until the skin starts to peel away. Then carefully remove the skin from the tomatoes, making sure not to burn your fingers. Transfer your tomatoes to a blender and blend till smooth. Then strain into your cooking pan to get the seeds out. Once the tomato puree has been strained, turn on the flame to medium. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and laal mirch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook down to half.

If there is any foam on the top carefully skim it off. Once the puree has reduced and has started resembling ketchup, add the cumin seeds and simmer until it is thicker and further reduced. When you run a spoon down the center of the pan, the ketchup shouldn’t pool back right away, and that’s how you know it’s done. It also shouldn’t have liquid seeping out of it. At this point turn off the flame and let it come to room temperature. Then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. Make sure to taste the ketchup and adjust to your preference. I always add little extra cumin to mine.

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