June 16, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly: 1700s Mushroom Ketchup

1700s Ketchup Recipe. In the 1700s tomatoes were eaten infrequently, ketchup was made from walnuts or mushrooms! Click for the colonial recipe: http://worldturndupsidedown.blogspot.com/2014/06/historical-food-fortnightly-1700s.html | World Turn'd Upside Down

I'm very excited for challenge 2 of the Historical Food Fortnightly. It was so much fun seeing all of the delicious dishes from the first challenge. If you haven't seen them, there's an awesome facebook group where all of the photos are posted. 

The Challenge: Soups and Sauces June 15 - June 28
Soups, stews, sauces, gravies! Make a soup or a sauce from a historical recipe.

The Recipe:

Colonial Recipe Mushroom Ketchup

Mushroom ketchup was something I've been wanting to make for a long time. I love the fact that this was a common sauce so different from the ketchup we use today. In the early 1700s, ketchup was introduced to English explorers by the people of Singapore and Malaysia. Originally a sauce for fish, ketchup was made out of walnuts, oysters or mushrooms and was similar to soy sauce. The English expanded the use of the sauce and it became popular for fish and meat dishes. 

The Date/Year and Region: 1796 London

Historic Foodways

How Did You Make It:


- 16 oz Mushrooms, chopped
- Handful of Salt
- 5 Shallots, chopped in large pieces, stuck with cloves
- Small knot of Fresh Ginger, chopped
- 2 Garclic cloves, chopped
- Few pieces of Mace
- Bay Leaf


Clean mushrooms by wiping the tops with a cloth, rinsing them will dilute the ketchup. Place in a stewpan on low heat with the salt until there is a good deal of liquid, be sure to cover the pan. Remove from heat, let cool and strain the mushrooms using a cloth. Squeeze out the remaining juice. Put the juice back on the burner and add the shallots, garlic, mace, bay leaf, ginger  and boil the mixture for a minute and then turn down the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Drain again and bottle.  

Time to Complete: 

About an hour. If I was to do this again I would let the mushrooms steep before cooking for a night or two like some other recipes suggest.  

Total Cost: About $8.00 but would have been much cheaper if I had had time to go to the produce market instead of the grocery store.

How Successful Was It?: This tasted much better than I thought it would. I'm actually confused as to why this went out of style. It's delicious. 

How Accurate Is It?:  Fairly accurate. I ended up just adding all of the ingredients at the beginning and stewed and strained them together. I also covered the pot although the instructions didn't specify so this may be thinner than intended, although when checked with other sources and recipes, it seems that mushroom ketchup was liquidy and mushroom gravy was thicker.

Colonial Recipe Mushroom Ketchup


  1. Very neat recipe and post. I have also read that ketchup has links to chutney from Indian Cuisine.

    1. Thanks! I can see that as the spices I've seen in most of the ketchup recipes are south Asian.

  2. Thanks for this post, Stephanie. It's interesting from a historical perspective and because I had no idea that ketchup besides tomato exists.

    1. Over here, there really is just tomato ketchup now. :)

  3. You know how much I'm a fan of mushrooms, but I do love garlic and ginger, and it does look pretty good. I might be persuaded to try it. :P

    Great job, as always. :)


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