Click through the slideshow for 7 unusual but delicious uses for ketchup.
1. Pad Thai
Yes, that's right. Pad thai. Well, ever wonder how pad thai noodles get that slightly orange tint? Or that unmistakable tang? That's right — it's not just vinegar. There's ketchup in the sauce that coats the noodles. It's really not that weird — pad thai is an Americanized favorite anyway.
Credit: Maryse Chevriere
2. Cheeseburger Pies
Phyllo dough, cheese, a healthy helping of meat, and yes, a nice squirt of ketchup on top. How can anyone resist?
Credit: Francesca Borgognone
3. Sweet-and-Sour Sauce
Indeed, a key ingredient in any sweet-and-sour sauce recipe worth attempting is ketchup. This popular and versatile sauce works both as a condiment — say, as a dipping sauce for egg rolls or wontons — and also as a base for stir-fries.
Credit: Hyosun Ro
4. Chicken Tikka Masala
Again, this isn't purely in here for shock value. OK, maybe a little bit. This darling of any Indian takeout joint worth frequenting is not, in the strictest sense, Indian in origin. There are many versions of the story, but most seem to agree on one thing: This dish was invented somewhere in Britain. And even though it is chiefly a British Indian dish (do people say that?), some versions make use of an all-American food product: ketchup.
Credit: Prerna Singh
5. Homemade Thousand Island
Is it possible to fake one's way through Thousand Island dressing? Perhaps. The next time a trip to the store just seems too much of a hassle, the daring (or lazy) can try mixing equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup with a bit of relish and a dash of Worcestershire, if handy. Some people swear by it. Give it a shot.
Credit: Maryse Chevriere
6. Spaghetti Neapolitan
This dish is probably not going to strike people as Italian. It is, in fact, what is known as "yoshoku" — Western food adapted for Japanese tastes. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the mixture. Stir in just enough ketchup to coat, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ta-da! We swear, it's big in Japan.
7. Shawarma Marinade
Yes, ketchup makes its way into barbecue sauce, hot wing marinades, and sloppy Joes — all very predictable. But we're spinning the globe again, and we've discovered once again how far ketchup has traveled.
Credit: Sawsan Abu Farha
BACK TO SLIDE
What comes to mind when someone says "ketchup"? Why, there are all the usual things — burgers, fries, sloppy Joes, barbecue sauce, franks, and yes, even eggs. But with ketchup, as with many things in life, there are unforeseen things on the horizon.
And while we're on the subject, another question inevitably springs to mind. While there are many companies today that make equally good ketchup, it's hard to deny that the most common bottle in diners, coffee shops, and burger joints is still a glass one with a "57" on it. What does the "57" mean on those ubiquitous glass bottles? One can speculate to no end. Was this particular formulation, perhaps, created in 1957? No, too obvious. Perhaps, the product's name was changed to "ketchup" from "catsup" to reflect common usage by that time. Or the sauce was the 57th in the company's lineup, or more interestingly, the company had tried 56 different formulations of ketchup (becoming obsessed over various combinations of vinegar, tomato product, salt, corn syrup, and bleh, anchovies) before finally achieving success with those taste-test panels (probably by omitting the anchovies). Who knows?
We could go on to hint at what sorts of strange (but delicious) dishes feature ketchup, but we don't want to spoil the surprise. We're willing to bet that most people won't see these coming.