Without sauces, it is difficult to imagine a complete meal in the modern world. After all, they are not only able to make dishes more attractive in appearance and pleasant in taste, aroma and consistency. Sauces can help the hostess to vary the number of dishes prepared from the same type of food. In addition, the use of sauces speeds up and facilitates the preparation of certain dishes.
Most seasoning sauces have their origins in French or Georgian cuisine, where they are so significant that they are practically inseparable from ordinary food. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, modern life is so practical that people do not have time for culinary delights. And almost all the variety of sauces that exist in the world boiled down to several varieties of ketchup, which has become a household name when they want to say about the use of one or another sauce. So, the recipes for tkemali ketchup sometimes deviate far from the traditional Georgian recipes for making this sauce. Nevertheless, so that the hostess has the right to choose according to her taste, the article will also present traditional Caucasian ingredients for making tkemali sauce, and possible options for replacing them.
Tkemali, what is it
While most people associate ketchup with a tomato-based sauce, tkemali is an exclusively Georgian condiment that consists of fruity and aromatic ingredients.
Attention! Tkemali is the name of one of the varieties of wild plum, rather sour in taste.
Since it grows mainly on the territory of Georgia, it is quite often customary to replace it with any kind of mountain cherry-plum. In principle, to make tkemali sauce, you can use cherry plum of any color: red, yellow, green. Since in recent years many varieties of cultivated cherry plum, often called "Russian plum", have appeared in Russia, many people willingly use it not only for making jam, but also for making incredibly aromatic and exotic tkemali sauce, which is especially good in combination with meat dishes. However, it is not forbidden to use the most common plum for the manufacture of this sauce, although this somewhat contradicts traditional Caucasian ideas, since the taste of the sauce should be exactly sour, due to the acidity of the fruit.
Attention! Traditionally in Georgia, vinegar has never been used to make tkemali and other sauces. The acid has always been natural and comes from fruits or berries.
The tkemali sauce should be quite spicy, but nevertheless, the main fragrant note, in addition to plums and hot peppers, is brought into it by a variety of spicy herbs, first of all, cilantro and mint.
Due to the sour taste of tkemali ketchup, it is simply irreplaceable for making kharcho soup. And in the Caucasus, in addition to adding to meat dishes and chicken, the sauce is often used to dress cabbage, eggplant, beetroot and beans.
Real Georgian recipe
To make ketchup from tkemali plums for the winter, you need to find and prepare the following components:
- Plum tkemali (cherry plum) - 2 kg;
- Garlic - 1 head of medium size;
- Ombalo (mint mint) - 200 grams;
- Dill (herb with inflorescences) - 150 g;
- Fresh cilantro - 300 grams;
- Hot red pepper - 1-2 pods;
- Water - 0.3 liters;
- Coarse rock salt - 2 heaped teaspoons;
- Sugar - optional 1-2 tbsp. spoons;
- Coriander seeds - 4-5 peas;
- Imeretian saffron - 1 tsp.
Instead of plums, in tkemali you can use cherry plums of different colors and even ordinary sweet and sour plums. But keep in mind that in the latter case, you will have to add a tablespoon of wine vinegar to your preparation so that it is well preserved for the winter.
Advice! If you make ketchup from cherry plum of different colors, then it will not affect the taste, but multi-colored sauces will look very original on the festive table.
Ombalo or mint mint grows mainly on the territory of Georgia, so it is not easy to find it. Often many housewives replace it with ordinary meadow mint or even lemon balm. True, there is an opinion that if there is no marshmint, then in this case it will be best replaced by thyme or thyme in the same quantities.
The rest of the ingredients for the sauce will not be so difficult to find, so the following is a description of the process of making tkemali plum ketchup itself.
How to cook
Wash cherry plum or plum, put it in water and boil it at least until the bones are easily separated from the pulp.
After that, the cherry plum mass is cooled and freed from the seeds. The peel can be left, it will not interfere at all, but, on the contrary, will add additional sourness to the tkemali sauce. Then the cherry plums or pitted plums are put back on the fire, dill tied in a bunch, chopped hot peppers, peeled from seeds and salt are added to them. Hot peppers can be used dry, but all other herbs for making real tkemali sauce must certainly be fresh.
Cherry plum puree is boiled for about 30 minutes. About 250 g of sauce should come out of one kilogram of cherry plum after boiling. While the fruit puree is boiling, grind the garlic and any remaining herbs in a blender. After the required boiling time has elapsed, carefully remove the dill branches with inflorescences from the puree and discard. After that, add to the future sauce all the herbs with garlic, the necessary spices, and sugar, if you see fit. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, put the sauce on the heating again and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Tkemali ketchup is ready. To preserve it for the winter, sterilize in advance small tall jars of 0.5-0.75 liters. Since the sauce is quite liquid in consistency, you can also use glass containers from industrial sauces with screw lids to store it. Storage lids for the winter must be sterilized.
Important! In cans, ketchup is laid out to the very top and, according to the Caucasian tradition, a few drops of vegetable oil are poured into each container from above.
The easiest way is to store the tkemali sauce in the refrigerator, but prepared according to all the rules, it may well stand in a cool place, where direct sunlight does not get.
A simple recipe for tkemali ketchup
If you are not a staunch adherent of Caucasian cuisine, but you are just a little tired of ordinary tomato ketchups and want to quickly and easily prepare a delicious and original plum sauce, then you can use the following tkemali recipe.
Take one kilogram of sour plums, apples, ripe tomatoes and bell peppers. In addition, you need to prepare 5 heads of garlic, 2 pods of hot peppers, herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, dill 50 grams each), sugar - 50 grams and salt - 20 grams.
All fruits and vegetables are freed from excess parts (skins, seeds, husks) and cut into slices. Then tomatoes, plums, apples, both varieties of peppers, herbs and garlic are minced using a meat grinder.
The resulting puree from fruits, vegetables and herbs is placed on a fire and boiled for 15-20 minutes. Stir everything with a wooden spatula to avoid burning. Add sugar and salt, stir and simmer for another 5 minutes. After that, distribute the finished tkemali ketchup into sterile jars, roll up and store in a cool place.
Tkemali ketchup is easy to prepare, but it is able to bring the aroma and taste of summer fruits, vegetables and herbs to the everyday winter menu and will go well with almost any dish.