I have been wanting to make tomato ketchup for the longest time. Whenever I fed Devansh a paratha, pattie, or fries with readymade ketchup I felt guilty as hell. I read the ingredients like permitted class II preservatives, acidity regulator, and stabilizers with trepidation. I now know that class II preservatives are synthetically manufactured preservatives, but I still don’t know about acidity regulator and stabilizers; I should Google up one of these days. It’s funny how we mothers get so protective about our children. I have been eating readymade ketchup all my life without any remorse what-so-ever. But now when it comes to Devansh, I want to ensure he doesn’t have products that contain all these artificial ingredients.
Because I didn’t want to feed Devansh readymade ketchup, I made stuff like parathas and tikkis once in a while. Then one day I decided enough of my procrastination; high time I made the ketchup at home. I began doing my homework—googled for homemade tomato ketchup recipes, read the ones I thought looked interesting, saw videos on Youtube. Now I was mentally prepared to make my ketchup, all I needed was organic tomatoes. There’s this grocery store near my place, whose owner is a staunch believer in organic food. He sources organic veggies from Junnar and Pune, and sells them once a week. But in the week I decided to make ketchup, he didn’t get his supply of tomatoes. The next week too, organic tomatoes weren’t available. In those two weeks, I used regular tomatoes for our day-to-day cooking. When I have to use non-organic veggies, to get rid of pesticides, I soak them in vinegar for 5-10 minutes before I wash them. Actually I follow this practice for organic ones too just to be on the safe side. But I didn’t want to use non-organic tomatoes for the ketchup because after all ketchup is all tomatoes.
When I finally got my tomatoes, I looked up the recipes and videos again to refresh my memory. I felt all set to make the ketchup—I was ready with the ingredients and a piece of paper on which I had written down the steps—I felt invincible. My smugness continued while I was cooking the tomatoes with the lid on. Then when the sauce had to be cooked without a lid, it started splattering all over the kitchen. None of the recipes or videos had prepared me for this. I tried partially covering the vessel, but the moisture kept getting trapped inside and the sauce wouldn’t thicken. So I held the cover about a foot above the vessel but how long can you continue to hold it. Finally I transferred the sauce to a tall pan and the splats reduced considerably; but so had my initial bravado. 🙂
So from my experience let me warn you, when you make this ketchup, you’ll get red spots all around the stove top. But let me also assure you, it’ll be worth all the effort—the taste of homemade, healthy tomato ketchup is something else altogether. So if your kiddos love having tomato ketchup with their food, do make this healthy ketchup at home; they will love it.
- 1 kg tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 inch piece of ginger (chopped)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 5-6 black peppercorns (crushed)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- Seeds of 2 black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
- Black salt (kala namak)
- 3/4th cup organic sugar (See the note below the recipe)
- 2 tsp vinegar
- Chop the tomatoes roughly. (I cut each tomato in half, and then cut each half in 6 pieces. So the pieces were about 1 inch thick.)
- Chop the onion such that its pieces are roughly the same size as the tomato pieces. This will ensure both cook at the same pace.
- Add chopped tomatoes and onion, ginger, garlic, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and seeds of black cardamoms in a pan.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook its contents on low heat till all tomato pieces release juice. This should take around 10 to 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to ensure all pieces get cooked evenly.
- After the tomatoes have released juice, turn up heat slightly and cook the tomatoes in its juice till they get tender. This should take around 10-15 minutes on medium heat. This time too, stir every 5 minutes to ensure that the tomatoes don't get burnt at the bottom. (Remember, you need to cook the tomatoes with the lid closed.)
- After the tomato pieces become tender (in Hindi we say, "gal jana"), turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool down. If you are low on patience like me, sit the pan in another pan filled with water so that it cools faster.
- Grind the mixture in a mixer and then use a big metal sieve to strain the mixture.
- Use a spoon to press the mixture on the sieve to filter out the seeds and skin of the tomatoes.
- Transfer the filtered mixture to a sauce pan and cook on medium heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Use a tall sauce pan such that the mixture doesn't fill more than 1/4th of the pan. You will know why, if you have read the writeup above. 😉 (I used the pan of my pressure cooker.)
- When the mixture starts to bubble up, add black salt, and mix it properly with the mixture.
- Continue to cook for another 10 minutes while stirring occasionally to ensure that the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add sugar and give it a good stir.
- Cook the sauce till it reaches the desired consistency. (When you pour the sauce from a spoon it shouldn't pour down too easily.)
- Turn off heat, allow the sauce to cool, and then add vinegar.
- Mix well and transfer to an air-tight container. Refrigerate and use within a month.
- Note: I use organic sugar by Sattvic. I have found that I need to add more of organic sugar as compared to regular white sugar to achieve same amount of sweetness in food. So if you are using regular sugar, I would suggest you use less sugar than what's mentioned. You can always taste the ketchup and add more sugar if required.