Usually, when I watch Man V Food, it just makes me feel like I want to move to the States and stuff my face with ridiculously high stacks of ridiculously bad-for-me food. Sometimes, it inspires me to recreate said food in my own kitchen. (If you have never heard of this show, I encourage you to spend a little time watching these videos before you read on...)
Like the time when I watched the episode in which Adam Richman goes to The Black Sheep in Richmond, VA. There, he eats a 2-foot-long sandwich with jerk chicken, cole slaw and banana ketchup.
Hang on. BANANA ketchup? I had never heard of that before. Sounds interesting. Adam describes it as a mixture of bananas, brown sugar, soy sauce, rum and jerk seasoning. I want it. And I just so happen to have a bunch of lovely brown bananas in the fruit bowl that realistically will probably not be eaten by anybody anymore in the state they are in.
So, a quick googling spree for banana ketchup inspiration later, I have moved from my sofa to my kitchen and am standing over a hot pot, stirring a spicy fragrant banana mush.
The end result turned out really tasty. It is indeed good on a chicken sandwich, as well as with grilled meats or as a fiery partner to homemade fries. You can control the level of spiciness by choosing chillies that are the right hotness for your taste buds. Here is my recipe:
BANANA KETCHUP (makes about 500 ml)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 red chillies, roughly chopped
thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp allspice, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup dark rum
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
5 overripe bananas, mashed
1 lemon, juice & zest
1 lime, juice & zest
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leave
Heat the oil in a medium pot. Add the onions and a little bit of salt and sweat them over a medium heat until they turn soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chillies, ginger and dried spices and fry over a low heat for about a minute, stirring all the time, until the mix starts to give off a fragrant smell.
Add sugar, vinegar, rum, soy sauce, bananas and the citrus and herbs. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer over a low heat for about an hour. Stir from time to time to check nothing is burning.
Remove from heat. Fish out the cinnamon stick and the bay leave and discard . Blend the rest of the liquid to a fine sauce. I used my immersion blender for this directly in the pot, but you could also transfer the ketchup to a blender with a glass jug. Be very careful, though, as the liquid will be very hot.
Fill your ketchup into a suitable vessel using a funnel (I re-used a squeezy ketchup bottle that I cleaned with hot water and soap) and let cool. The ketchup will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.