Curried Ketchup with Star Anise

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Star anise lends a unique flavor to this homemade ketchup.
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“Savory Sweet” by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielson gives readers great ideas for preserving their leftover produce.
1 hr 30 min DURATION
30 min PREP TIME
4 half-pints SERVINGS


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups medium-diced red onions
  • 1 tablespoon medium-diced garlic
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 to 15 grinds black pepper
  • 2 pounds mixed tomatoes, medium diced (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar


  • In a 10-inch sauté pan, combine the olive oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté over medium-low heat until the onions are soft and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, star anise, curry powder, salt, and pepper, and cook until the sugar begins to caramelize, another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and vinegar, and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes. The ketchup is done when you can drag a large spoon across the bottom of the pan and the mixture holds its shape. Remove and discard the star anise. Taste, and adjust the seasoning.
  • For a smoother ketchup, place a medium mesh sieve over a deep bowl. Working in batches, press the ketchup through the sieve, scraping the underside of the sieve with a clean spoon. Discard the solids left in the sieve.
  • Wash the jars, lids, and bands in very hot soapy water, rinse them well, and place them upside down on a clean towel to drain.
  • Spoon the ketchup into the jars, leaving a half inch of headroom to allow for expansion during freezing. Wipe the rims with a clean wet cloth or paper towel, add the lids and bands, and finger tighten the bands.
  • Label the jars. Cool completely before tightening the bands and storing the jars in the refrigerator or freezer.

    More from Savory Sweet:

    Eggplant Chutney with Cardamom and Pomegranate MolassesCarrot Lemon Marmalade with Ginger and Cardamom
    Reprinted with permission from Savory Sweet by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielson and published by University of Minnesota Press © 2017.

Savory Sweet Savory Sweet  by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielson (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) offers low-tech, simple, and fast ways to preserve food.This ketchup will keep in a freezer until your next cookout.

As this sauce simmers, aromas of curry, anise, and tomatoes will fill your kitchen. It’s so good, you’ll find yourself eating it from the jar with a spoon. Warning: this may spoil you — now the stuff in a plastic squeeze bottle just won’t do.

Try using a mix of different tomatoes — acidic, sweet, and mellow. We tested this recipe with yellow cherry, red paste, and black slicing tomatoes for stunning ketchup.

This ketchup is a must on grilled lamb burgers and lamb sausage. It also makes a great base for a curry soup with coconut milk. Try it with grilled or roasted eggplant, sweet potatoes, and as a dip for pita chips.

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