Recreate Your Childhood Memories By Making Banana Ketchup From ScratchApril 23, 2020
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It’s always fascinating how many of today’s classics arise from necessity. Such is the case with this uniquely Filipino creation: banana ketchup. Ketchup in itself has its own backstory, having originated in China and Southeast Asia, and made with a host of different ingredients. In the United States, the tomato version reigns, and the condiment eventually made its way to the Philippines. During the second world war, however, a shortage of tomatoes led to the use of a more economical, widely available fruit: bananas, the saba variety to be exact. The original recipe is credited to food technologist Maria Orosa (after whom a certain Orosa street in Luneta is named). Eventually, the ketchup would be dyed red to match its Western counterpart.
But a carbon copy, it is not. Aside from being gloopier and shinier (seemingly a trademark of Asian condiments), contemporary versions also tend to taste sweeter with a slightly spicy edge that appeal to kids and adults alike. The ways we use it are just as unique. On one hand, we share the tradition of having it as a dip; the sweetness complements the salty edge of fried food, including hotdogs, eggs, luncheon meat, and as a friend of mine insists, even fish! Its flavor forms a crucial element to a number of Filipino signatures—can you imagine tortang talong (eggplant omelette) or Pinoy-style fried chicken (with sweet potato fries…. mmm) without its fruity-tangy lift? More than that, though, it also forms the backbone to a few saucier dishes, the most common of which might be Pinoy spaghetti. With a few dashes of soy sauce and calamansi (and other seasonings), banana ketchup also works beautifully as a marinade for meat, like the rub on your favorite barbeque skewers. Of course, these are but a few examples of its many possibilities, which is why it remains a Filipino household staple to this day.
Homemade Banana Ketchup
Total Cooking Time: 5 mins
Yield: 2 months worth of ketchup
- 500g tomato paste
- 300g glucose
- 400g distilled vinegar
- 80g sugar
- 30g salt
- 4g xantham gum (available at Healthy Options)
- 4 small bananas
- Combine all ingredients except the bananas in a blender.
- Blend all the ingredients for 5 minutes.
- Add bananas and continue blending for 2 more minutes.
- Strain the mixture and transfer into an airtight container.