Wouldn’t you know it? Of course, like a lot of tastiest things in the world, ketchup was invented in China. It actually was nothing else but fish sauce originally, made from fermented fish and spices.
The kings (and emperors) of umami, aren’t the Chinese? Salty and sweet is a relatively new taste for the Europeans but in the Far East they have known what’s best for ages. Malay kecap or ketjap meant ‘fish sauce’ indeed and that’s where the word came from into English.
Tomato ketchup is what springs to mind these days but it wasn’t always so - fish as above, mushroom in 18th century and even walnuts here and there. Tomato ketchup originated in America in the times when people thought raw tomatoes were not safe to eat.
And here we have a festive, goes-with-turkey cranberry version and I must say very tasty it is too. Just don’t be afraid of salt - it needs a bit of saltiness to break the sweet and sour and provide the justification to be called ketchup!
Recipe adapted from NY Times Cooking.