When I first ate at Laser Wolf, the popular Israeli restaurant housed on the Hoxton’s rooftop in Brooklyn, it wasn’t the twinkling Manhattan skyline, pillowy flatbread, or velvety hummus that I couldn’t get out of my mind afterward. It was the ketchup.
Delivered via an herb-flecked french fry, the first tart-sweet dollop almost tingled on my tongue. Then came some heavier hitters: candy-like mango, a hint of fenugreek, punchy chiles, earthy tahini. It reminded me of a currywurst (sausages blanketed in spiced ketchup) I’d once obsessed over in Berlin. But it was also like nothing I’d ever tasted before.
As soon as I was back at my desk the following Monday, I begged chef Michael Solomonov and his team for the recipe. Luckily for me (us), Tehina Ketchup was already printed in Israeli Soul, the cookbook Solomonov wrote with his business partner Steven Cook in 2018. (Tehina is another spelling of what’s known in the US as tahini.) Their original recipe calls for homemade mango amba (a spiced, pickled condiment), garlicky tahini sauce, and harissa.
But with a few store-bought dupes, you can take the ketchup in your fridge from afterthought to star-of-the-show—in under two minutes flat.
Here’s how to make Tehina Ketchup:
To a small bowl, add 1 cup ketchup, a heaping spoonful each of (1½ Tbsp.) tahini and mango amba, and a dab (1 tsp.) of harissa paste. (Don’t fuss too much over the exact amounts.) Stir together until the sauce looks creamy and the ketchup’s vibrant red has mellowed out a bit. (My tahini was pretty runny, but if yours is on the thicker side, you might want to add a splash of water to loosen it up.) Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed (say, more harissa for more kick).
Use it on a fluffy egg sandwich with a big hunk of feta. Serve it in a little ramekin with sumac-dusted french fries. Slather it all over a veggie burger. Swap it in for Russian dressing and dunk your shrimp with abandon. Or, be like me and just bake some ice-crusted freezer nuggets. This ketchup needs nothing and no one to shine bright.
Tehina Ketchup is excerpted from Israeli Soul © 2018 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2018 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.