Pimp My Ketchup!

Tired of plain ketchup and need some serious kickin’ stuff? This spicy variation with fruity refreshing lemon grass, lime and hot chilies fits perfectly with your barbecued and grilled meats. The optional Szechuan pepper adds some extra exotic flavor.


  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 finely ground lemon grass stalk
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce (available in Asian groceries)
  • 1/2 – 4 Thai chilies, finely chopped (1/2 for hot, 4 for super-hot)
  • 1 cup ketchup, e.g. from Heinz
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan pepper (optional)
  • Fresh chopped cilantro to taste (optional)

Heat pan to high, add about 1 tsp oil to slightly cover the pan and fry the diced onion until it slightly browns, add half of the lemon grass and saute for half a minute. Add honey, and when it caramelizes, quickly add the oyster sauce and chilies.

After a few seconds, add remaining lemon grass and ketchup and blend everything. Add water and Szechuan pepper, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes, then add lime juice and cilantro and blend smoothly.

For storing, disinfect jars or sealable glasses and their lids or covers with boiling water (of course, you should make sure the containers and covers are heat-resistant) and fill them with the sauce.

You can store the sauce in the fridge for about a week and for several months in the freezer in sealable freezer bags.