Vindaloo Ketchup & Pickles
with Suzanne Klein
Chief Yummy Officer
ketchup pickles vindaloo
This month, we’re celebrating Savory Spice Shop’s roots as a “Main Street” spice shop that has grown into a family of more than 30 locally owned and operated stores across the country. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Savory’s very first store (on Platte Street in Denver, Colorado), we’re introducing two special, limited-time-only products: Vindaloo Ketchup and Vindaloo Pickles.
A Collaboration Story
Elevation Vindaloo Ketchup & Real Dill Vindaloo Pickles are available at your local Savory Spice Shop starting October 1, 2014
We created these delectable condiments (each with a signature spicy kick!) in collaboration with Denver based artisan food companies Elevation Organic Ketchup and The Real Dill. Both companies are long-time customers of Savory Spice Shop and use some of our original seasonings and fresh spices in their product recipes. Like Savory, they are Colorado companies growing from the ground up. And, like us, they are committed to delivering original, hand-crafted food products as well as an outstanding customer experience. We invited both companies into Savory’s test kitchen to develop custom ketchup and pickle products that would be true to each of their brands and highlight one of Savory’s original signature seasonings: Vindaloo.
Vindaloo is one of Savory Spice Shop’s original, handcrafted curry seasonings. Originally a Portuguese dish, Vindaloo was adapted over the centuries in areas of Portuguese-ruled India. It’s now a popular international curry dish and it is certainly one of Savory’s most popular curry blends. Traditionally, Vindaloo is quite hot. We cut back on the chiles in our version to create a not-so-hot curry the whole family can enjoy. With turmeric, Saigon cinnamon, garlic, fenugreek, salt, brown mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, ginger, cayenne, cardamom, black pepper, and cloves, our Vindaloo seasoning lends a sweet heat to everything from pork and poultry to fruits and veggies. What does Vindaloo have to do with ketchup and pickles? Nothing really. We didn’t even set out with a Vindaloo flavor in mind. We worked separately with Elevation Ketchup and The Real Dill to explore some of our signature seasoning flavors that might make sense to flavor their products. We made batches and batches of differently seasoned ketchup and pickles. It just so happened that we landed on Vindaloo for both.
Seasoning a Well-Seasoned Ketchup
Honestly, it was hard to imagine altering Elevation’s already perfectly seasoned ketchup. It has just the right balance of sweet and savory notes and it’s based on an original family recipe dating back to 1893. It’s got that classic ketchup flavor, but it clearly tastes homemade. It’s the way the ketchup is seasoned that elevates the condiment to its well-deserved gourmet status.
Elevation Organic Ketchup founder Aaron Wagner with Savory Spice Shop founder Mike Johnston taste testing early batches of ketchup
In this case, adding heat to the sweet and savory of Elevation’s original ketchup seemed like the way to go. We immediately turned to our Ghost Curry Powder, which is not just hot…it’s “Indian hot.” (In other words, you might cry when you eat a lot of it…I do.) Featuring one of the world’s hottest chile peppers, our Ghost Curry blend packs serious heat, but it’s nicely tempered with flavors like fennel, orange, paprika, coriander, ginger, and cinnamon. Blended into Elevation’s ketchup, it was…well…it was hot. The thing with ketchup is that it typically sits on your shelf or in your fridge because it lasts for a while. And the longer the Ghost Curry sat in the ketchup, the more the heat developed. While our resident chileheads loved this hot condiment, we knew it was too hot for a typical family meal of burgers and fries.
The Vindaloo flavored ketchup happened quite by accident. Savory Spice Shop founder (and culinary creative genius) Mike Johnston quickly grabbed a few different curry blends from Savory’s warehouse of fresh-ground spices. Forgetting to label the bags (genius, right?) he dumped one of the bags he thought was Ghost Curry Powder into a saucepan of simmering Elevation ketchup. Turns out, this unlabeled bag was actually Vindaloo. As tasters came through to sample the various curried ketchups, this one was the clear winner. With just the right kick of heat from the cayenne and mustard seeds, some of the Vindaloo signature flavors, like fenugreek and cinnamon, also stood out without covering up Elevation’s original ketchup flavor. Plus, the turmeric in the Vindaloo gave the ketchup a lovely hint of orange color that many curries also contain.
It wasn’t as easy as one visit to the test kitchen, however. Aaron Wagner, founder of Elevation Organic Ketchup, came to play in our kitchen several times to create the perfect ratio of seasoning to ketchup before we decided on a final recipe. Luckily, we had a lot of fries on hand for all of our tasting sessions.
How a Pickle Becomes a Real Dill
Given their existing menu of exotic pickle flavors—like Habanero Horseradish Dills, Aji Chile Sours, and Sweet Molasses Chips—finding a creative collaboration seasoning with the guys from The Real Dill was clearly going to be fun. When starting with a plain pickle and a spice rack with hundreds of seasonings, the flavor options were unlimited.
Mike Johnston with The Real Dill founders Tyler DuBois and Justin Park taste testing early batches of pickles
Some of the initial test batches of seasoned pickles included our popular Pike’s Peak Butcher’s Rub and our spicy (but not too hot) Thai Green Curry. The Pike’s Peak was truly delicious but it was almost too traditional to stand next to some of The Real Dill’s more creative concoctions. The Thai Green Curry was pretty good; the lemongrass and lime leaves came through, but the delicate balance of other curry flavors became a bit lost in the brine.
The Real Dill founders, Justin Park and Tyler DuBois, visited Savory’s test kitchen several times over many months to work on the perfect pickle flavor. With each visit they unveiled a new pickle to be taste-tested and tweaked. We finally ended up with some serious contenders—unique flavors that highlighted two of Savory’s signature seasonings: Chai Spices and Vindaloo.
The Chai Pickle featured Savory’s handcrafted Chai Spices, a whole blend that includes familiar chai ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper. The Real Dill guys even spiked the brine with black tea and a little brown sugar to really play up the tea aspect of chai. It was crazy how much this pickle tasted like chai, only with a sour twist. And we had never heard of a Chai Pickle before, so we loved the idea of such a unique pickle flavor on our shelves. The Vindaloo Pickle, on the other hand, was refreshingly spicy and a great looking pickle (as pickles go.) The Real Dill used a whole spice version of our Vindaloo (instead of ground) so bits of chiles, seeds, and turmeric speckled the pickle jar.
We loved both contending pickle flavors and couldn’t make a decision. So we sent both pickles out to our Denver, Lowry, Littleton, and Boulder stores for a customer taste test. Pickles were sampled, votes were cast, and comments were collected. While customers liked both the Chai and Vindaloo flavors, the overwhelming favorite across all stores was the Vindaloo Pickle.
Vindaloo Ketchup & Pickle Recipes
While each product is simply delicious on its own, we also created some new recipes to highlight these products in case you want to experiment. Enjoy!
Mumbai Dogs made with both Vindaloo Ketchup and Vindaloo Pickles
- Vindaloo Ketchup Wings with Blue Cheese Dip: Perfect for spicing up football game fare
- Vindaloo Ketchup Spaghetti & Meatballs: A curried twist on a family favorite
- Mumbai Dogs: An Indian-style Chicago dog
- Vindaloo Ketchup & Pickle Samosas: An easy potato and pea samosa that incorporates both products
- Vindaloo Pickle Raclette Bites: Cheesy little pickle & potato bites topped with quick-pickled shallots
- Vindaloo Pickle-Brined Onions: A great way to use up the flavorful pickle brine once all the pickles are gone
Our special collaboration ketchup and pickle products can only be purchased in-store at a Savory Spice Shop location near you starting October 1. We created a limited production run of each product, so they’ll be available only while supplies last. We happened to pick ketchup and pickles for this collaboration project, but there are so many local, up-and-coming food companies making amazing products with Savory’s spices. We feature many of these products in the Local Offerings section of each Savory Spice Shop location around the country. We’re still focused on our core business of hand-crafted spices but, when possible, we will continue to innovate and collaborate to bring you interesting and well-seasoned artisan food products.