January 22, 2013

An Easy Sweet & Savoury Tomato Jam

hat do you do when life gives you ripe tomatoes, and then loads of it? Eat them raw (if they’re sweet, put them in salads, add them to curries, make a Marinara sauce or Salsa di Pomodorie e Mele, maybe ketchup or even a nice spicy jam, turn them into chutneys/ gojju and pickles, bake them, stuff them or swirl some into bread, soup (warm or chilled),………..

You get my drift. I have no need to preserve tomatoes, because one of the many perks of living in India is that there are a lot of vegetables and some fruit too, that we get in plenty all the year round. However I felt like making a simple jam with ripe tomatoes, one without too many spices or other additions, so that the flavour of the tomatoes would come through.
Making sweet jams is just fine, but there usually no takers for this kind in my home. We rarely have a butter-and-jam-with-toast kind of breakfast and prefer our traditional Indian savoury sort of breakfasts.  

 But a sweet and savoury or tangy sort of jam or chutney is more in demand because we can eat with dosas or Indian flat breads like chappathis or parathas. I prefer to snack on crackers topped with this sort of jam/ chutney with maybe a little sharp grated cheese and some chopped coriander. Its an excellent thing to have with a steaming hot cup of masala tea. 
I had some strawberries which were threatening to spoil, so I threw those into my jam. They add a nice colour and flavour to the jam, but you can leave them out. I rarely add vinegar to my jams/ preserves/ chutneys because we don’t like the sharpness/ acidity it adds. Since I usually make small batches of these I don’t need to use vinegar for its preservative properties. But this once, I decided to add a bit of apple cider vinegar to my jam, and I liked it. This is a sweet jam with a savoury notes.

I sometimes get lazy while cooking and take shortcuts. Whenever I have to make a tomato anything that involves cooking the heck out of them, I tend to take an easy way out. It helps that my daughter doesn’t particularly like tomatoes if she can see them as pieces in anything I cook. So I tend to run tomatoes in my blender (skin, seeds and all) so they’re just broken down and a little chunky.  It gives texture to your sauce, chutney or jam.
These days, if you are to be considered someone who knows their food and are a food blogger, food must be about “texture” amongst other things, or you don’t make the grade!

So here’s my recipe for a Sweet & Savoury Tomato Jam. It’s not the first one out there, but it’s the one that appeals to our tastes, and we really like it. If you should make it, please feel free to adjust the amounts/ proportions of the ingredients to suit your taste.
You can use white granulated sugar in place of brown sugar and you will have a more red than brownish coloured jam. For a twist, try using powdered jaggery instead of sugar.

Sweet & Savoury Tomato Jam


1 1/2 kg ripe tomatoes
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
1 cup chopped strawberries (optional)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup brown sugar (depending on how tart your tomatoes are)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli flakes (or to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp apple cider vinegar (optional)


As I mentioned earlier, I sometimes get lazy while cooking and take shortcuts. So I just chop the tomatoes and run them in blender till they broken down but still a little chunky.
If you prefer to do it the “proper” way then fill a pan with enough water to submerge the tomatoes and bring it to boil. Cut the stem/ the top off the tomatoes and then slice a shallow “X” at the bottom of the tomatoes. 
Put the tomatoes into the boiling water, turn down the heat to medium, and leave them there till the skins loosen. Take the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and once they have cooled, just pinch off the skins. Discard the skins, and chop the tomatoes.
I prefer to have my onions puréed so I run them along with the tomatoes in the blender. Put the chopped or crushed/ chunky tomatoes, onions (if using chopped), strawberries, the sugar, salt and chilli flakes in a thick bottomed pan and bring to boil while stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to low and cook the mixture till it becomes thick. Don’t forget to stir it on and off so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
Add the coriander and cumin powders and the apple cider vinegar. Cook for another 5 minutes, and take the jam off the heat. Let it cool completely and transfer to sterilized jar. Refrigerate. This recipe makes 1 medium sized jar of tomato jam.


Kalyani said...

I love these kind of mixed flavour jams... The first pic with the jam atop the crackers is way too tempting :-) I am one of your silent readers and wish you could travel to mumbai someday to conduct a photography workshop like you did in Chennai...