Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup with Tamarind

With the underlying tart note provided by tamarind, this somewhat chunky conserve blends sweet, tart, and spicy in one brick-red mouthful. I like to top a grilled turkey burger or fatty fish, such as tuna or salmon, with this ketchup. Sometimes I'll purée it and brush it onto chicken pieces during the last few minutes of grilling. A spoonful gives some oomph to a bowl of vegetarian chili.

Yields about 1/4 Cup


3 large red bell peppers (about 1 1/4 lb. total)
3 oz. compressed tamarind pulp (a 3/4-inchthick piece about 1×4 inches)
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white-wine or rice vinegar
1 tsp. salt
12 cloves, freshly ground, or 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long, freshly ground, or 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black peppercorns
1 fresh chile, halved and seeded, or 1 small dried chile, or 11/2 tsp. dried red chile flakes
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)


Heat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Put the peppers on the sheet and broil them, turning occasionally, until the skin is blackened and the peppers are tender, about 10 min. Let them cool and then peel them. Cut them in half, remove the stems, ribs, and seeds, cut the flesh into a 1/4-inch dice, and set aside.

In a small bowl, soak the tamarind in the hot water until soft, about 15 min. Put the tamarind pulp in a fine sieve, leaving the soaking liquid in the bowl. Pressing hard, force as much of the pulp as possible through the sieve and into the bowl of soaking liquid. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, tamarind liquid, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the red peppers, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, chile, and onion. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 45 min., until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has thickened to the consistency of chutney. Remove the fresh or dried chile, if you used it. Allow the ketchup to cool and then store it in a tightly covered glass jar, refrigerated. It will keep well in the refrigerator for about a month.

You may also be interested in Cooking with Tamarind and Tamarind


From Fine Cooking 32, April 1, 1999