This sauce was mentioned briefly by David Bouley at the ICC during his demonstration incorporating Japanese ingredients and techniques into Western cuisine. Chef Richard was sitting next to me, and elaborated on the sauce. The recipe was first taught to him by a Cambodian (I think) cook back in the 80's long before I ever dreamed of working in a kitchen. Having never heard of it before, the idea was very interesting to me. The recipe as given to us by Richard goes like this.
- 1 cup soy sauce (or light soy)
- 2 shallots (chopped)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- black pepper
- 1 # whole butter
Saute the shallot then add the soy sauce. Whisk in the ketchup, and add black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Do not reduce the liquid. Whisk in the butter as in a beurre blanc. Strain and hold warm.
I guess it just fascinated me to have a sauce made of soya, ketchup, and butter. What a hell of a sauce for steak and fries. The flavor is really great for such a simple novelty sauce. We used it on a Peruvian sushi dish with evoo poached shrimp. I've searched the web for a recipe similar to the one from Richard, but all I could find were Indonesian recipes using kecap manis (or ABC), tomatoes, soya, and butter (or no butter). Maybe this is the origin of it. A few sites seemed to refer to soy sauce as soja (not sure what country uses this term). Kecap is a loose term meaning fermented sauce and encompasses a variety of sauces. Of course, there is the theory that ketchup is derived from kecap so maybe Richard's version comes from a misinterpretation by someone along the way. His version does make complete gastronomical sense no matter how authentic (or lacking in authenticity) it may be. It takes 2 ingredients high in umami, soy sauce and tomato ketchup, and combines them with the creamy fatty goodness of butter. No wonder it tastes so good.