Banana Ketchup is a fruit-based condiment from the Philippines. Made from ripe bananas, this sweet and tangy ketchup is a pantry staple in many Filipino households.
What is banana ketchup?
Banana ketchup—also known as banana sauce— is a popular condiment in Filipino cuisine, made primarily from mashed bananas. Its invention is credited to Maria Orosa, a Filipino food technologist and chemist.
During World War II, there was a shortage of tomatoes, the main ingredient in traditional ketchup. Bananas were used as an alternative as they were abundant in the country.
Is banana ketchup made from real bananas?
Yes. It contains mashed bananas, sugar, starch, vinegar, salt, onion, chili, and garlic. Most commercial brands add red food coloring to resemble tomato ketchup.
What does banana ketchup taste like?
Banana ketchup doesn't taste like bananas at all. It is less tangy and sweeter than traditional ketchup, with a slight fruity undertone. The sweetness comes from ripe bananas and added sugar, while the tanginess is usually from vinegar.
Is banana ketchup healthy?
While bananas are nutritious, the same cannot be said for banana ketchup. It is dyed red and contains added sugar and preservatives, which can lead to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure if consumed excessively.
To make an informed decision, carefully examine a product's nutrition label and ingredients list. A balanced diet should include a variety of nutrient-dense foods and moderate food consumption.
Where to buy and how to store
Banana ketchup is usually available in Filipino or Asian grocery stores, as well as specialty food stores and online retailers. Jufran and UFC are popular brands.
Store it the same way as regular ketchup. Unopened bottles should be kept away from direct sunlight in a cool, dry place. When the bottle is opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within a few months.
Filipino recipes with Banana Ketchup
Banana ketchup is a versatile condiment, like tomato ketchup. Besides being a condiment, it is also used in marinades, glazes, and as an ingredient in some recipes. Here are some examples:
- Fried foods: Complements the savory and crispy texture of fried foods like Lumpiang Shanghai, Tortang Talong, fried fish, or fried chicken.
- Silog breakfasts: Goes well with most silog-type breakfasts consisting of Sinangag, itlog (egg), and proteins such as Spam (Spamsilog), hotdogs (Hotsilog), ham (Hamsilog), fried milkfish (Bangsilog), or fried chicken (Chicksilog).
- Embutido: While traditional meatloaf is typically glazed with tomato ketchup before baking, this Filipino version—Embutido—is served with banana ketchup instead.
- Marinades and Glazes: Adds sweetness, color, and its acidity helps tenderize the meat. Some examples are Pork Barbecue Skewers and Inihaw na Liempo.
- Sweet and Sour: A stir-fried dish with meatballs or chunks of pork, chicken, or fish with a sweet and tangy sauce.
- Escabeche: This dish is often prepared with fried whole fish and stir-fried vegetables such as carrots, onions, and bell peppers, bathed in a sweet and tangy sauce.
- Filipino Spaghetti: An adaptation of spaghetti with meat sauce, our version is distinctively sweet from banana ketchup and sugar.
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