Hot chips, salt, vinegar and a pot of homemade tomato ketchup. It is food that is hard to resist. Tell me how often have you managed to resist hot chips? Just the smell of them makes me hungry.
When I was a teenager I would get a cone of chips from the local chippy, then douse them in onion vinegar and chicken salt. I am not sure there was anything better. Well I am sure there was but at 14 on the walk home from school, hot chips hit the spot every time. If you have never tried hot chips with onion vinegar then you really really really need to!!! Look at the back of the pantry and find a half eaten jar of pickled onions. Pour off the excess vinegar and cook up some chips, either homemade (my recipe for homemade fries can be found here) or store bought, and then sprinkle them with the pickled onion vinegar. YUM!!!!
Back then I didn't care about homemade or high fructose corn syrup. In fact until I had my kids I didn't really look at that sort of thing at all. I cooked and ate what I liked 🙂 I still do really. A little of what you fancy...... I am not one to deprive myself of a food because someone somewhere has put it on the list of foods we shouldn't eat this week. I hate those lists, butter and eggs have been added and removed so many times!!!! And then there was no red meat, more red meat. Pah! Moderation - unless it is pasta or cheese and then moderation and portion control goes out of the window 😉
BUT there are some things that even I start to feel wrong about. Like how much sugar is in those flavoured yoghurt pouches. Stew weighed it out one day and I was genuinely shocked! Luckily the boys didn't eat them very often so I just stopped buying them. But there are some foods that I would hate to stop eating, hate to stop buying and hate the mealtime battles that followed! Condiments are definitely on that list. If we have hot chip (fries - call them what you will) then ketchup, mayo and barbecue sauce have to be on the table. Hot chips just don't work without a good amount of vinegar, a little bit more salt than you think you should add and a sauce to dip them in. Mr 8 and I like ketchup, Mr 4 likes barbecue and Stew has mayo. What can I say we are a diverse family 😉
If you look at the back of a bottle of your favourite sauce, you will find that high fructose corn syrup is pretty high up on the list. Now I am not going to tell you that my homemade tomato ketchup is sin free. There is still sugar in it, but at least it is a more natural form of sugar, just plain brown sugar and not some manufactured syrup. You could use honey, I prefer the flavour using sugar, but honey still gives you a nice thick ketchup. I think using honey means it takes on more of a subtle barbecue flavour. But have a go and see what you think.
I have already shared my mayo recipe (watch out for an update on the photos on this post - and I hope a video!) and my barbecue sauce recipe, so I thought I would make up a batch of homemade tomato ketchup for you. It is actually really hard to buy tomato ketchup in Australia, well not hard to buy. Every supermarket sells it, but you can only buy Heinz (not a problem!) all the home brands are tomato sauce. Which until I moved to Australia I thought was the same thing! Turns out it isn't. It is sweeter and less 'spiced' than ketchup. My version of ketchup is somewhere in between Australian tomato sauce and the ketchup that I enjoyed as a kid (i.e. Heniz!)
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Homemade Tomato Ketchup
- 1 medium onion
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 500 g bottle tomato paste (see notes)
- 350 ml vinegar (see notes)
- 200 ml water
- 150 g brown sugar
- 1-2 teaspoon salt (see notes on tomato paste)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Peel and finely chop the onion.
- Add the oil to a heavy based pan and cook the onion over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Grate in the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes over a very low heat.
- Add the tomato paste, vinegar and water.
- Turn the heat up and bring to simmering point.
- Stir in the sugar, salt, paprika and allspice.
- Stir well then reduce the heat and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until very thick. (This should take about 20-25 minutes.)
- Make sure you stir frequently, especially toward end of cooking to prevent the ketchup from sticking and scorching on the bottom of the pan. I usually spend the last 5 minutes stirring almost constantly. (see notes for what to do if your ketchup does stick)
- Transfer the ketchup to a blender (or food processor) and puree until smooth.
- If you find you still have lumps then you can pass it through a sieve. (but I never bother 🙂 )
- Pour the hot ketchup into hot sterilised jars (see here for how to sterilise jars) and seal. With an airtight seal this will keep for 6 months, if not airtight, then store in the fridge and use within 1 month.