Expert Guide
Mama Chang's Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallions
Mama Chang's Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallions
Photo © Fredrika Stjärne

Ketchup is classic with burgers and fries, but home cooks and superstar chefs alike have devised clever methods to leverage its sweet-and-tangy flavor. Here are seven ways to cook with ketchup, from a classic Chinese-American stir-fry sauce to Jacques Pépin’s glaze for chicken livers.

1. Glazes. Blend ketchup with soy sauce, sesame oil and sherry to make a sweet glaze for a tofu-mushroom salad.

Combine it with red wine vinegar, curry powder and honey mustard to dress grilled salmon.

Or be like Jacques Pépin and mix it with balsamic vinegar to make a superfast glaze for seared chicken livers.

2. Barbecue sauce. To make it sweet and spicy, add chipotle in adobo and maple syrup. Or blend equal parts ketchup and peach jam with just a touch of lemon juice to make a sticky and addictive sauce for ribs.

3. Stir-fries. Use it like Chinese-American home cooks and make a sweet-and-sour stir-fry sauce, as in this recipe from Boston chef Joanne Chang.

4. Meatballs. Instead of the usual tomato sauce, simmer meatballs Southern-style in a mixture of ketchup, currant jelly and Worcestershire.

5. Pickles. Add it to star chef Michael Chiarello’s tomatoey brine for a pickled vegetable antipasti.

6. Coleslaw. Make one of the more obscure Southern styles: the pink-tinged “red slaw.” Just whisk ketchup with cider vinegar, sugar and hot sauce.

7. Shrimp cocktail. Mix in some Worcestershire, Cajun seasoning and lemon for a Bloody Mary–inspired cocktail sauce for shrimp.

Related: How to Make French Fries
Delicious Condiments
Comfort Food Recipes

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