Spicy Banana Ketchup

During the Japanese occupation of the Phillipines, American brands weren’t accessible. Instead, the Filipinos came up with creative alternatives to their favorite American products. Banana Ketchup was one of those creations. It remained so popular that it become mass produced in the 1950s, despite access to the states no longer being an issue.

This sauce is also a popular condiment in Hawaii—especially in fried white rice (not my favorite use). Though it’s quite tasty and a nice change from traditional catchup, the homemade version is 100% better. Increase the heat with more jalapeno (it’s actually very mild) or change it up for a serrano. You can swap the cloves for a little bit of allspice and omit the alcohol if you choose.

Spicy Banana Ketchup (makes 1 1/2 cups)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 medium jalapeno, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar or molasses
1 tbsp soy sauce or braggs
2 bananas, diced
2 tbsp spiced rum
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cloves
bay leaf

Heat the oil over medium in a small saucepan. Toss in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir often. Use a few tablespoons of water if it starts to sticks. Add the garlic and pepper, stir and cook for anther minute. Next, add the tomato paste, sugar, and soy sauce.

Gently stir in the vinegar and cook until the paste turns an orange-ish color.

Add the diced bananas, spices, rum, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until thick.

Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Discard the bay leaf and pour into a blender to puree the mixture. If you try to blend it while hot, it will stain your appliances. Taste test and adjust if needed (water if too thick, sugar, vinegar or salt, etc.) Transfer to a jar and serve, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

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