Banana Ketchup is sometimes spelled as ‘Banana Catsup’ or called tomato-banana sauce by some. Is a popular Philippine-made ketchup-fruit condiment made of bananas, with or without tomatoes, vinegar, soy sauce, spices, sugar and or more depending on the brand. It typically has a yellow reddish-brown color but is more so processed and sold to look more like regular ketchup than the red dye to make them more appealing to the masses. A condiment that you can find with many other sauces found in Filipino fiestas, parties, and even small get togethers. Used in many ways aside from a dipping sauce, but as a marinade, for stir-fry, stews, and pasta sauce. What makes this condiment differ from other tomato based sauces? Check out the article to find out.
A short introduction
A sweet and savory ‘healthier’ banana dipping sauce founded in the Philippines. This treasured Filipino made condiment is used throughout the whole country as is a staple in many household cupboards and fridges. It was in 1942 after the end of WWII ‘World War 2” was the first mass-produced and commercially made banana ketchup distributed and sold by the company ‘UFC’ or ‘Universal Food Corporation’. Becoming a pantry staple and used by almost every Filipino. But this fruity banana-based version of the ketchup was first and foremost introduced and founded by a Filipino food innovator and chemist, Maria Orosa in the 1930’s who wanted to help boost Philippine-made products using locally found ingredients to replace imported goods, she also innovated such things in the Philippines like canning methods, preservation of fruits, and other self sufficient ways of food production. She was seen as a hero to many from feeding hungry guerrillas during World War II, to smuggling food to feed starving Filipino and American war prisoners.
One such project from her that took off was the ketchup made from the bountiful supply of bananas in the Philippines. Maria Orosa was inspired to recreate the American ‘tomato ketchup’. Tomatoes back then were of limited supply and were still heavily imported due to the plant could not acclimate to Philippine soil and weather, unlike the variety of tomatoes cultivated in the Philippines today. Bananas on the other hand were being mass produced and easier to find. She first created banana sauce by mashing saba bananas, mixing these with spices, some sugar, and vinegar to make a not so appealing yellowish brown goo. She added red dye, turning it into the red colored banana ketchup now known by many as it looks more similar to tomato ketchup and was more appetizing to look at. The older version while smooth was too viscous and hard to pour out the bottle. Though in today’s bottled condiment form, aside from the ‘banana’ based ketchup without tomatoes and just the addition of red dye, there are also a mix of bananas and tomato paste that most households also recreate.
Nowadays you can find different popular brands used in the Philippines are : UFC Banana Ketchup, Papa Banana Ketchup, and recently the Jufran Ketchup, with some selling a variety of bing x2 sweeter, spicy, or as a sugar free banana ketchup. A staple grocery bottled or packed condiment. Where can I buy Banana Ketchup? You can find them in most grocery stores in the Philippines, in cooking or restaurant supply stores, at Sari-Sari stores (neighborhood convenience stores), outside the Philippines they are mostly found in the Asian condiment aisle or Filipino stores, different brands can also be found at online stores.
What does banana ketchup taste like? It tastes like your usual ketchup but with a natural sweetness and a slightly tangy fruitiness that is not overbearing. It suits savory and salty food as the savory sweet taste balances what the condiment pairs with well. Where can you use this sweet savory sauce? Use it alternatively for what you typically use ketchup with like fries, burgers, chicken, drizzle over omelets, or the fan-favorite tortang talong or eggplant omelet, in spaghetti pasta sauces on of which is the special ingredient in the popular Jollibee spaghetti that many Filipinos love and adore, in marinades, and more. (more recipes with links down below)
- Why is Banana Ketchup red?
The ketchup when homemade has a more natural yellowish-brown color, compared to the bottled version found in markets which has a bit of red dye added to make it more appealing.
- Banana Ketchup taste :
This condiment tastes like your typical tangy and savory ketchup with a good amount of sweetness and a slight hint not overbearing fruitiness.
- Is Banana Ketchup healthy?
Seen as the healthier alternative to the usual tomato ketchup. Banana Ketchup nutrition facts include having less sugar, taking most of the sweetness from the bananas thus also having less calories. The addition of bananas also adds a source of dietary fiber vitamins and minerals that help with digestive health.
Recipes using Banana Ketchup:
- Banana Ketchup Spaghetti (or the popular Jollibee or Filipino Spaghetti Sauce)
- Ketchup Fried Chicken
- Chicken Stir-fry or Chicken Wings con Sarsa
- Chicken Tocino
- Menudo Stew
- Homemade Skinless Longganisa
- Sweet and Sour Maya-maya
- Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled pork belly)
- Some Banana Ketchup pairings include using them as a ketchup substitute for Banana BBQ Sauce recipes like: Sweet BBQ Chicken Wings, Filipino-style Pork Barbecue, or Coca Cola Chicken Wings)
- An Easy Banana Ketchup recipe