I love making homemade ketchup when the last of the summer tomatoes are big and ripe, and this spiced ketchup recipe is a beautiful way to carry that luscious flavor throughout the year.
Traditionally, ketchup is made with a variety of spices such as cinnamon, clove, and ginger, but this recipe uses Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai for a delectable and fragrant twist.
With its slightly smoky flavor, a hint of sweet caramel, and a heady array of spices including aniseed and orange peel, Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai goes wonderfully in this thick, rich ketchup.
What's in Chai Spiced Ketchup?
This recipe begins with the ripest, meatiest tomatoes you can find. Roma tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes are ideal. If you can only find beefsteak or other juicy tomatoes, simply increase the number of tomatoes you use. Since they have so much liquid, you won't have much sauce left once they're cooked.
A good spiced ketchup recipe needs vinegar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes and the sweetness of the sugar and create that ideal sour-sweet balance that makes ketchup so scrumptious.
You can use apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even plain vinegar, but the combination of caramelized balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar is one of the best. Ketchup usually requires a lot of sugar, but by using caramelized balsamic vinegar, you can greatly reduce the amount of sugar you add.
Regular balsamic vinegar will work well too, but the caramelized version is thick, syrupy, and divine.
You can use pretty much any sweetener for ketchup including honey, maple syrup, molasses, and sugar. This recipe was made with a lovely brown sugar that gives a hint of molasses richness without being overpowering.
Worcestershire sauce is an essential component of a good spiced ketchup recipe. A generous tablespoon of the heavenly liquid will add dimension and flavor that complements the tomatoes nicely.
Salt and pepper are next. If possible, use freshly ground black pepper since it imparts the most flavor and fragrance.
At this point, you can also add extra spices if you want to give your ketchup a greater kick. A couple of cloves, a piece of star anise, a few fennel seeds, or a stick of cinnamon are all excellent options.
Don't worry about wrapping them in a spice bundle. Just toss them in the sauce. You'll be pushing the sauce through a sieve near the end, and that will remove any spice pieces and ensure your ketchup is smooth and lump-free.
Although Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai was used in this recipe, any of the Plum Deluxe chai blends would work well, especially Rainy Day Puerh with cinnamon, ginger root, anise, and safflower.
How to Make Chai Spiced Ketchup
As with any sauce, regular stirring is the key to making sure your ketchup cooks down into a thick, glossy concoction without sticking to the bottom and turning the whole lot into a burnt mess. It doesn't take too long to simmer down, especially if you use a wide, shallow pan with a lot of surface area for the liquid to cook off. The narrower your pot, the longer your ketchup will need to cook.
Also, cook at a low temperature so the ketchup simmers but doesn't erupt into bubbles that spew hot tomatoes all over you and your kitchen.
Once your sauce is nice and thick, remove it from the heat and push it through a fine mesh strainer. This will remove all seeds, skin, and spice pieces.
Then discard the solids and return the sauce to the stovetop, stirring in a few spoonfuls of tomato paste. Now is a good time to taste your ketchup and add more vinegar, brown sugar, or seasonings to suit your taste. Return to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until it reaches your desired consistency.
Remove from heat, pour into sterilized bottles, and either store in fridge or process with the hot water method and then store it in the pantry until you're ready to use it.
If you fancy trying your hand at other homemade sauces, check out our Barbecue Spicy Tea Sauce, Caramel Sauce, or Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce.
Chai Spiced Ketchup Recipe
- 8 cups tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup caramelized balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 heaping tablespoon Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai
- 2-3 tablespoon tomato paste
In bowl of blender add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Puree until smooth.
Pour into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add tea leaves.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce and simmer until thick.
Pour through a fine mesh strainer into another heavy bottomed sauce pan. Use the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids.
Place new pot on stove and add tomato paste, stirring well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Ketchup should be both slightly sour and sweet. Return to simmer and cook until thick.
Remove from heat, pour into sterilized bottles and either store in fridge or process with hot water method then store in pantry until ready to use.