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Berbere Ketchup

Posted by on April 27, 2012

Most people here in the United States love their ketchup. There’s always a bottle in the refrigerator. It’s a must for french fries and a necessity for any barbecue. The problem with most commercially available ketchup is that they are too sweet. Want to know what’s in your ketchup? Use our simple recipe to make this version at home. We like our ketchup spicy, so we’ve added one of our favorite blends to it. Berbere is most commonly used in North African stews or roasted meats, but it has an affinity for ketchup. Whether you choose to keep it rustic or blend it smooth, both versions are sure to please. We like to keep some on hand all summer for dipping fries, topping burgers and hot dogs, or to use as a “secret ingredient” in BBQ sauces.

Be warned: This Berbere Ketchup is highly addictive!


Berbere Ketchup


2 Tbsp olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 large onion, any variety (cut into pieces)
4 cloves garlic
2 – 14.5 oz cans of fire-roasted tomatoes, pureed
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Berbere, ground
½ Tsp Allspice, ground
½ cup red wine vinegar (but you can use any kind)
2 Tbsp tomato paste


  1. Put garlic and cut-up onion into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In a deep saucepan over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add onion/garlic mixture and sauté until lightly browned. Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook until ketchup is thickened, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning.
  2. Take off heat. You can leave the texture “rustic” or you can puree it smoother in a blender. (Just be careful pureeing hot things – make sure the center plug has been removed from the top, and use a folded towel to cover the hole. Carefully hold towel down tightly while you puree the ketchup. Now you see why we like it rustic.)
  3. Transfer to a refrigerator-proof container. Allow to cool completely before covering. This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks - but you will find excuses to use it before then. Trust us.

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