AL DENTE: Himalayan Ketchup, Hold The Himalayas

Good news, everyone! Despite appearances to the contrary, youtube is actually good for more than sociopaths screaming at people, classic MMA matches and movie trailers. First off, of course, the magnificent Matt Wallace has his constellation of channels. Start with The Angry Writer which is his daily, blisteringly funny and profoundly clear-eyed vlog.

And then, step across to Binging with Babish.

I first discovered BwB through this, the incredible il Tampano from Big Night. It’s amazing, food as performance art and theatre, like someone put a lasagane inside a drum and baked it while playing the really good drum solo from In The Air Tonight over and over.


See?! And yes that’s the last time I’ll link to Phil Collins, promise.

Anyhoo, Babish did an excellent episode, a series in fact, on burgers. One of them features a ketchup recipe he referred to as Himalayan Ketchup. He did this because he is a New York based creative who can get maybe a touch needlessly fancy when the mood strikes. I am a Reading based creative who already had some salt SO! The original recipe is over here. And here’s my take.

Peel a two inch knob of ginger and grate it.

  • Take a half tablespoon of tumeric.
  • Maybe a tablespoon if you’re feeling fancy.
  • Ignore the Bird’s Eye Chilli.
  • Grate 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon.
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli powder. Or one if you’re not feeling saucy.
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon nigella seed
  • 1/2 cup malt vinegar
  • Can of tomatoes. Don’t be subtle or fancy. Passata’s great. Crapass cans of peeled tomatoes work too. Just salt, pepper and oregano-ize them if you can.
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • No pink Himalayan salt because you don’t have it. Sea salt’s good though.

    Arrange them all on a board and marvel about how pretty they look. Victor? The usual suspects!


    Add the various spices to the olive oil and heat until they simmer. Add the vinegar and stir until it turns into a paste. Then add the tomatoes and the sugar and stir everything together.

    Then go have a cup of coffee, do some awards judge reading, think about how The Rock’s upcoming roles and Ash Tyler on Discovery are proof that male action role-models are evolving in two different ways. I did.

    Stir occasionally and simmer for an hour.

    Then drop it all in a blender and blend the unholy bejeezus out of it. Just blend that thing like it’s damned. Blend it like it killed your sensei. Or until three minutes have passed.

    Then? THE FUN STUFF.

    Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Gravity will do a lot of this for you but the rest will have to be you pressing it through. This is gooey and squishy and fun. It’s like working with tomato-flavored mud only it smells amazing.. It should look like this.

    See the silky smooth ketchup under that? That stuff is legit. The chili dies back to a background note, the cinnamon and turmeric give it an edge and there’s this fruity over taste that works brilliantly on very nearly everything. But mostly burgers. Trust me, it’s amazing on burgers.

So there you go! Ketchip ala Babish via…me. Enjoy!


(This piece originally appeared in my newsletter, The Full Lid. Check out the archive over here, and subscribe for a weekly dose of pop culture, enthusiasm and my work)