Picture ketchup and a tomato-based product that you put on fries and burgers typically comes to mind. While this is the American type of ketchup, it is similar yet very different from the Filipino version - banana ketchup. Did you know Filipino ketchup doesn't have any tomatoes in it?
Learn more about this unique Filipino condiment below.
What is Banana Ketchup?
Filipino banana ketchup is a banana sauce created by Maria Orosa, a food technologist. This sauce was made in the early 1940s to replace tomato-based ketchup. During the time, there was a shortage of tomatoes, so ketchup needed to be imported. However, bananas were plentiful, so they were used to make ketchup moving forward.
What Does Banana Ketchup Taste Like?
The original variety of banana ketchup has a deliciously tangy, sweet flavor. Even though it doesn't contain tomatoes, it has a similar taste. Some versions are brown in appearance, and some are red. Typically, these do not have a difference in flavor, as the only difference is food coloring.
There are other varieties, including spicy banana ketchup and Caribbean style. Spicy banana sauce contains chilis for its fiery punch, while Caribbean-style banana ketchup includes rum and curry powder for a more complex flavor.
What's the difference between banana sauce and banana ketchup?
Banana ketchup and banana sauce are different names for the same condiment. This yellow-brown or red sauce is most often called banana ketchup. However, one of the popular brands which sells this condiment (Jufran) uses banana sauce on its labels.
Filipino households often use this tasty sauce on various dishes, from fries, fish, hot dogs, and hamburgers to Filipino spaghetti.
How to Make Banana Sauce
Wondering how to make banana sauce? It's easy to make at home and requires less than ten ingredients. The main ingredients include bananas, white vinegar, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar. Alternatively, you can include tomato paste to make a hybrid tomato-banana ketchup.
The recipe is easy; you'll need to saute the garlic, ginger, and onion first. Then, add the remaining ingredients. Finally, puree everything together, and your banana sauce is ready to use.
You can add chilies to the mixture for a spicier flavor. Or, include rum, coconut oil, and curry powder to create a Caribbean-style sauce.
How to Use Banana Sauce
This versatile sauce is excellent for an array of foods. You can eat it with anything you usually use ketchup for. However, if you're in the Philippines, you'll likely see it eaten with fried rice, noodles, eggs, fish, pork, and chicken. Of course, eating it with French fries, burgers, and hot dogs is common.
Some traditional Filipino dishes that include banana ketchup are silog (Filipino breakfast dishes that include fried rice), tortang talong (a grilled eggplant and egg dish), Filipino spaghetti, pancit (traditional noodle dishes), and fried chicken.
Filipino Banana Sauce Tips & FAQs
Here are a few banana sauce tips and FAQs that you can use to get the most out of this delightful condiment!
How long does banana ketchup last?
With proper storage, an open banana ketchup bottle can last up to two weeks. Otherwise, if your bottle is unopened (and purchased from the store), it is shelf-stable.
Is banana ketchup red?
The only type of red banana ketchup is a hybrid version containing tomatoes. Some varieties have a more ruby color, though those are the options containing food coloring. Natural banana ketchup is a brownish color.
Skip consuming banana ketchup if it has a sour smell.
Since banana ketchup is made with vinegar, it stays good for a while. If your banana ketchup starts to smell sour or you notice mold, it's time to throw your banana ketchup away. This rule applies to homemade and storebought versions.
Offer Filipino banana ketchup to your vegan friends.
This sauce is typically vegan, like regular ketchup, so that you can offer it to your vegan friends! Whether you're serving a hamburger and fries or making a homemade pancit recipe, using banana sauce is a great way to pack flavor into dishes without animal-based products.
How to Store Banana Ketchup
This condiment is one option that you’ll need to keep in the refrigerator. As mentioned, it’s shelf stable, so you can keep it in your pantry until it’s opened. Then, once you pop the top, you’ll need to put it in the fridge. Ensure you don’t keep opened storebought banana sauce past two weeks.
Homemade banana ketchup can last longer in the fridge, so that you can keep it for up to a few months. Although, it’s necessary to check it occasionally to ensure it has not gone bad.
Where to Buy Banana Ketchup
You can find banana ketchup at most Asian grocery stores, especially if they have a Filipino grocery section. You can also purchase it online if there are no Asian markets nearby. Bokksu offers an extensive array of Asian sauces, from Korean to Japanese options. You can also find delicious snacks and drinks on Bokksu’s website.
Want to learn more about pancit? Check out this pancit guide!