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Course: Sauces & Condiments
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: ketchup, spiced

Indian-Style Spiced Ketchup

ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
"Ketchup," both the word and the concept, is generally considered to be Vietnamese by way of Southern China. I'm only using the term here because this sauce does remind me quite a bit of an American style ketchup (or catsup, same thing), that's spent some time traveling the sub-continent. I love its depth of flavor, versatility, and that it reminds me of a culture I'd dearly love to visit one day.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Thai bird chili, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


  • Heat the oil for 1 minute in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the chili powder, cumin, and garam masala and bloom for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger, Thai bird chili, and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato puree, molasses, apple cider vinegar, and palm sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.
  • Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks in a glass jar (plastic vessels can stain). Serve with our Tots Masala or anything else where the kick of a spiced ketchup would bw welcome. (I love this stuff on fish sticks...yes, even the frozen kind.)
Note: Kashmiri chili powders lend a deep red pigment to many an Indian dish; since this sauce is already red enough from the tomatoes, I include it not for color, but for its round, muted pungency which, in my opinion, cannot be mimicked by other chili powders. It's easily procured on-line, which is the only place I buy spices.
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