"______ is the new ketchup"
July 2, 2006 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Ketchup Alternatives?

I love cooking French fries, and still love them with ketchup even though it pretty much contradicts my current food philosophy-- I try to eat as few heavily-processed foods as possible.

I'd love to buy (or make) an alternative condiment to eat with fries. Mustard is great, but I'd like to find a sweeter taste to compliment the saltiness of the fries. Spicy is okay. Preferably a substance of comparable consistency that is easy to dip into. I like foods and flavors from all cultures, and will try almost anything.

However, anything mayonnaise-based is out.

Anyone have any fun ideas or favorite recipes?
posted by hermitosis to Food & Drink (58 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Whenever I have fries, I make a mix of ketchup and Cholula. It's quite awesome.
posted by nitsuj at 2:57 PM on July 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am pretty sure that nearly all American condiments are either ketchup or mayonnaise based! But, have you tried tzatziki? I love dipping fries in this stuff!
posted by sperare at 2:58 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: I'm a fan of fries and BBQ sauce. Sweet Baby Ray's makes a pretty good BBQ sauce with honey.
posted by galimatias at 3:00 PM on July 2, 2006

malt vinegar
cream cheese
homemade ketchup
masoor dal
pau bhaji
posted by dorian at 3:04 PM on July 2, 2006

see also: proto-ketchup.
posted by dorian at 3:10 PM on July 2, 2006

That sounds good, dorian, but how much of each are we supposed to blend together?
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:14 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: Sriracha is like the spicy, Thai version of ketchup, made with ground red chilis, and I put it on everything. Can be found in Asian sections of most supermarkets. I've never made my own, but here is a recipe for it if you're game.
posted by bookish at 3:16 PM on July 2, 2006

Ketchup + Filipino Spiced Vinegar (or any vinegar with chilis)
posted by evil holiday magic at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: lol ^_^

ooh hells yeah sriracha. mix that stuff with some sugar and fish sauce (nuoc nam) and maybe some rice vinegar, and there is a tasty sauce. on preview: sorta what evil holiday magic said.
posted by dorian at 3:21 PM on July 2, 2006

Gravy and cheese curds, baby!
posted by Robot Johnny at 3:22 PM on July 2, 2006

I use honey mustard, ranch dressing, Heinz 57, blue cheese dressing, ..just about everything but ketchup.
posted by jonmc at 3:23 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: Homemade ketchup would satisfy your requirement that it not be too processed, wouldn't it? I don't have a recipe handy, but recall that it isn't too difficult to make . . .
posted by mcwetboy at 3:26 PM on July 2, 2006

Ranch dressing is more versatile than you might think. It's the albino ketchup!
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:28 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: oh, and apfelsenf is dead easy to make.
equal parts:
- your favorite applesauce (preferably homemade and chunky, but eh)
- your favorite mustard (preferably brown or otherwise spicy)

adjust ratio to taste. adding some ground horseradish or spices (or sriracha, that's how we roll around here) just makes it better.
posted by dorian at 3:28 PM on July 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Ummm, Fry Sauce?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:43 PM on July 2, 2006

I dip nearly everything dippable in sour cream.
posted by Zosia Blue at 3:43 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: You can buy ketchups in natural food stores that don't have a lot of additives, or hell, make your own with tomato and spices and vinegar.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:46 PM on July 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Sambal Bajak. A spicy paste from Indonesia (?). Good flavoring for soups, too.
posted by adamrice at 3:49 PM on July 2, 2006

Nacho Cheese + Chinese Mustard Powder
posted by evil holiday magic at 3:58 PM on July 2, 2006

Nomato is made from vegetables and seasonings. It contains no soy, no dairy, no wheat, no nuts, and of course no tomatoes!

Appears to be all natural and homemade. I haven't tried it, but was thinking about ordering some when it looked like I might be allergic to tomatoes.
posted by sciatica at 3:59 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer:

House of Tsang Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce.

It's a little pricey but it's sooooofuckinggood.
posted by jason's_planet at 4:02 PM on July 2, 2006

An old girl friend of mine was nuts about hot french fries & Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. Not my thing, mind you, but not ketchup, either.
posted by paulsc at 4:29 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. On my first visit to Australia, my husband served me potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chili. IT WAS A REVELATION. It's a vaguely see-through pinky/red sauce with bits of chili floating in it. It's like the salsa of Australia right now; you can get it everywhere. I highly recommend it.

When I lived in Europe, I also got into English style chips (malt vinegar and plenty of salt) and French style pommes (dipped in mayonnaise). Definitely give those a try.
posted by web-goddess at 4:30 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: Similar to Jason's_Planet, I dip them in Soy Vay Sesame Terryaki sauce. Can't beat it with a stick. Add a little hot sauce and you are set right.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:31 PM on July 2, 2006

Chili sauce and making your own ketchup has already been mentioned. I can second making your own -- it's better than the bottled stuff, and it's pretty easy to make.

The Oklahoma condiment of choice is cream gravy.
posted by dw at 4:35 PM on July 2, 2006

Mixing sour cream with cocktail sauce, specifically the Gold's cocktail sauce (with lots of horseradish) you can often get at Costco, yields awesomeness.
posted by staggernation at 4:45 PM on July 2, 2006

Hoisin sauce, maybe? Malt Vinegar is very good. And as a fellow mayonnaise-avoider, I have to say that you're cheating yourself if you never try Belgian-style "Samurai" sauce, a delicious and spicy mayo.

Gonna go make some fries, I'm drooling on the keyboard...
posted by jtron at 4:51 PM on July 2, 2006

Is it only industrial mayonnaise that's out? Because freshly made aoli (garlic mayonnaise) is a perfect accompaniment to chips (UK) fries (US).

Otherwise, try brown sauce, HP sauce or worcester sauce based table sauces.

Oh and malt vinegar still beats everything else in my humble...
posted by itsjustanalias at 5:13 PM on July 2, 2006

Try ajvar, a red pepper and garlic condiment from the Balkans. Think sweet peppers and eggplant with optional spicy heat. Also available in many ethnic (or even regular) grocery stores by the jar.

(Note: if you buy a jar of this stuff from Croatia or Bulgaria with a big "No Preservatives" on the label, they mean it. Not recommended to buy more than you intend to eat in, say, a week or so.)
posted by gimonca at 5:24 PM on July 2, 2006

Heinz Ketchup is the best thing ever.
posted by evariste at 5:25 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: ooh! ooh! ooh! how could I forget?!?
branston pickle.
it goes on everything.
posted by dorian at 5:42 PM on July 2, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you all! I have been marking "best" all the suggestions that I am most likely to try, as a visual cue for myself-- however there are some other suggestions here that I may well discover I like even more.

It's not just industrial mayonnaise that's out. I like mayo in other contexts, but fry-wise I am not having it.

As for Ranch and other dressings, no thanks. Not to be a snob-- I worked at Denny's in college and came home every night at 4 AM reeking of all the dressings I had been serving/cleaning up all night. Once you have cleaned up a 3-foot pool of ranch dressing up off of a walk-in refrigerator floor, it's not hard to abstain from the stuff forever. Or when you walk into the kitchen and see the cook with his shirt-sleeve rolled up and his arm plunged into a 10-gallon vat of the stuff, stirring it with his arm. (!!!)
posted by hermitosis at 5:56 PM on July 2, 2006

Response by poster: PS: I think I will try making my own ketchup, keeping in mind that if my boyfriend catches me doing this in our tiny NYC kitchen, he will think I have totally lost my mind. We're still on thin ice from the pokeberry ink incident.
posted by hermitosis at 6:00 PM on July 2, 2006

Best answer: the cook with his shirt-sleeve rolled up and his arm plunged into a 10-gallon vat of the stuff, stirring it with his arm.

The bastard!! Remind me never to eat anything.

Before this thread disappears, I'd like to recommend hot sauces made under the Melinda's brand (subdued vinegar flavor, good heat), including the mango variety, and Ass Kickin' brand Thai Peanut Sauce.

Maybe it's been mentioned under another name, but I'd also recommend mango chutney.
posted by evil holiday magic at 6:11 PM on July 2, 2006

Pico de gallo
posted by Doohickie at 6:41 PM on July 2, 2006

A1 sauce (don't think anyone's mentioned it). Don't know if it's available everywhere, but HP sauce (a British tasting equivalent) is tasty stuff indeed as well...a tiny kick to it but nice and reminds me of home.
posted by rmm at 6:42 PM on July 2, 2006

still waiting to see some of people's own tried recipes...

also, a1 sauce a+++ would eat on steak fries again. and again. and again.
posted by dorian at 6:58 PM on July 2, 2006

If you make ketchup, and I have several times, consider finding a way to make it outside. It tends to make your home smell like ketchup for quite some time after.
posted by plinth at 7:46 PM on July 2, 2006

Chocolate shake.
posted by Good Brain at 7:57 PM on July 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

Curry sauce.
posted by brujita at 8:43 PM on July 2, 2006

Chutneys are poised to make a comeback.

Pineapple & macadamia nut chutney = the new pico de gallo
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:33 PM on July 2, 2006

Seasoning salt.

I have no idea what's in it, probably paprika, some chili powder, onion powder, etc, but it's very common at all the Turkish / Greek takeouts around here on the fries, and I love it.
posted by wackybrit at 9:51 PM on July 2, 2006

Sambal Manis Pedas is a mild Indonesian hot sauce that substitutes well for ketchup (and is delicious).
posted by sad_otter at 10:54 PM on July 2, 2006

Oh, yeah, and a 50/50 mix of ketchup and HP Fruity sauce is pretty awesome, as well.
posted by sad_otter at 10:58 PM on July 2, 2006

I'll third the suggestion of chocolate......I love dipping my fries into the Frosty's from Wendy's. I'm not sure if you want the condiment to be less heavily processed or if you're just looking for a change, but definately investigate the chocolate avenues. Honey is also wonderful - just straight, pure honey. I'd say ketchup would be my third choice behind those two.
posted by Iamtherealme at 11:31 PM on July 2, 2006

ketchup is the new ketchup
posted by chrisroberts at 7:54 AM on July 3, 2006

Soak the fries in Tabasco before dipping in another sauce. Unlike sauces like Sriracha, Tabasco (or Louisiana Hot Pepper Sauce, etc) will soak into the fries.
posted by mikeh at 8:35 AM on July 3, 2006

Filipino banana catsup. The commercial kind isn't exactly a "natural food" (it's dyed a shocking red), but you could try your hand at making your own.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:08 AM on July 3, 2006

If you want something tomatoey but not ketchup, try pizza sauce. When I was on a low-carb kick I subbed it for ketchup on basically everything and it was good on all those things.
posted by kindall at 10:39 AM on July 3, 2006

How about some Old Bay?
posted by battlecj at 1:04 PM on July 3, 2006

Salsa brava
posted by Sharcho at 1:23 PM on July 3, 2006

The Tabasco company puts out a chipotle version of their sauce, which I find to be goddamn awesome on french fries (or plain popcorn, or really anything...)
posted by Danelope at 4:30 PM on July 5, 2006

You should also check out Tiger Sauce by Try Me. (Clever name, no?) Beware, it's rather spicy, but sweet at the same time. My favorite.
posted by jxpx777 at 5:12 PM on July 5, 2006

First time I've ever heard of "Sriracha" ... Me and my buddies have always called it "Cock sauce" on account of the giant cock on the bottle.
posted by crunchyk9 at 12:18 AM on July 6, 2006

As a Utah native I have to recommend fry sauce. Some Dude's Fry Sauce Is a good brand. I love it on just about anything I'd normally eat with ketchup.
posted by metacort at 8:51 AM on July 6, 2006

Response by poster: UPDATE:

Sriracha was a great call-- too spicy for me by itself, but excellent mixed with ketchup.

I bought a bottle of Annie's Organic Ketchup.

I just made my first batch of apfelsenf as well, and so far so good!

I bought a thai peanut ginger sauce that I have yet to taste.

In other words, it's an exciting week around these parts :)
posted by hermitosis at 1:21 PM on July 9, 2006

my fave = siracha + mayo = less spicy, sort of creamy
posted by lester the unlikely at 3:50 PM on July 30, 2006

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