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Tomato Chilli Jam

This tried and true recipe for Tomato Chilli Jam is a real favourite of my family and friends. I have been making this sweet and spicy savoury jam for more than 15 years and it is one of my most used condiments.

This shows jars of the prepared Tomato Chilli Jam all finished and sitting on a wooden board.

This jam is so versatile. It is delicious served with eggs on toast, with smoked salmon and sour cream or a fantastic sandwich spread. Dollop it on top of quiche, fritters or serve with cheese and crackers. It can also be used in dressings for asian salads or added to mayonnaise to serve as a dipping sauce. I’m sure you will find many other ways to use this very tasty jam once you have made it – a great way to elevate a dish.

A piece of toast with smoked salmon and boiled eggs that have had some Tomato Chilli Jam dolloped on top. Delicious!

Why I love this recipe:

Mostly because it tastes great! I like that it uses fish sauce as a substitute for salt which gives it a more complex flavour.

You can also control how spicy you want this savoury jam depending on the variety of red chillies you use.

It is a great all-purpose condiment that can be added to cheese platters, sandwiches, burgers, sausages, pate, cold meats, chicken, noodles, fritters, quiches, frittatas…the list goes on. It is extremely versatile and lends itself to so many dishes.

Looking down into the filled jars of Tomato Chilli Jam before the lids are screwed on.

Ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Tomatoes – use full flavoured ripe tomatoes.
  • Red Chillies – long red chillies or substitute 1 or 2 of them for bird’s eye chillies if you prefer a hotter jam. You can also leave the seeds in if you prefer (the pith inside the chillies which house the seeds are the hottest part of a chilli).
  • Garlic cloves
  • Ginger – fresh ginger
  • Fish Sauce – this gives a lovely complex and umami flavour and provides the saltiness to this jam as it is used in place of salt.
  • Sugar – Caster sugar or Golden caster sugar.
  • Red Wine Vinegar

How to make this recipe:

This is a relatively easy recipe to make as there is minimal chopping. Most of the ingredients are very roughly chopped and then blended. Only half the tomatoes are more precisely chopped into smaller 1/2cm pieces, so unlike some preserves, this recipe doesn’t involve too much preparation.

Tips and tricks for success:

  • The most important tip I can give you is to not let the mixture burn. It will take approximately 30-40 minutes to reduce to the consistency required, and needs to be stirred every 5 minutes at the start of this process. However, in the last 10 minutes you need to stir it much more frequently. I would watch your mixture like a hawk as it can catch on the bottom of the pot very quickly. Speaking from experience, I have lost a whole batch when I got distracted which was disappointing. You cannot rescue a burnt bottom!
  • Use a large pot. If you are familiar with making any jams or preserves, you will know that as it starts to thicken it can ‘spit’ out onto the bench and stovetop. Using a larger pot helps prevent a sticky mess afterwards. Also, be aware that when stirring the hot mixture can sometimes ‘spit’ so stir gently and be careful.
  • To test if your jam is ready I use two methods. The first is using a thermometer – the target temperature range is between 103-104°C (217-219°F) for this softer set jam. Another way to tell if your jam is ready is to put a couple of small freezer-proof plates in the freezer when you start to cook the jam. Once thickened, put a small amount of the mixture (say a teaspoon) onto the cold plate and leave it for a minute or so. Then using your finger, draw a line through the middle of the mixture and it should ‘wrinkle’ and stay separated if it ready. If not, let it simmer for longer and test again in 5 minutes on the other plate.
  • The heat of this Tomato Chilli Jam is dependent on the variety of red chillies you use and whether you remove the seeds or not. See below for my recommendations and then experiment according to your preference for spice and heat. Just remember that red chillies can also vary in heat depending on the time of year so having a little taste of one at the start can also help determine how many you use.

Mild – use 3-4 long red chillies, seeds and pith removed

Medium – use 4 long red chillies or 3 long red chillies and 1 red bird’s eye chilli (seeds removed)

Hot – use 2 long red chillies and 2 red bird’s eye chillies (seeds removed is optional)

This recipe has been adapted from a recipe by Peter Gordon and Ruth Pretty.

The bottled jars of Tomato Chilli Jam are sitting on top of a wooden board.

Tomato Chilli Jam

This tried and true recipe for Tomato Chilli Jam is a real favourite of my family and friends. I have been making this sweet and spicy savoury jam for more than 15 years and it is one of my most used condiments.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Condiment, Preserves
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: chilli jam, chillies, sweet chilli jam, tomato chilli jam, tomatoes
Calories: 1399kcal
Author: Katrina | Katy’s Food Finds

Equipment

  • large pot
  • Sterilised glass jars and lids (makes approximately 400ml)
  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 500 g ripe red tomatoes
  • 4 long red chillies see notes
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 30 g fresh ginger (approximately 2.5 thumb sized pieces) peeled and grated
  • 30 ml fish sauce
  • 300 g caster sugar or golden caster sugar
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Roughly chop half the quantity of tomatoes and place in the bowl of a food processor. Roughly chop all the chillies and remove the seeds if necessary. Place them into the bowl as well and add the ginger, garlic and fish sauce. Process until it becomes a fine purée (scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times as you go).
    Pour the purée into a large pot along with the sugar and red wine vinegar. Stir it all together, then bring to the boil gently, stirring all the time.
    Chop the remaining tomatoes into 1/2cm (5mm) pieces and as soon as the mixture has boiled, add these to the pot and turn down the heat to a gentle boil.
    Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes over low-medium heat (gently boiling), stirring every 5 minutes, and even more frequently once the mixture starts to thicken. It is very important to watch it and stir it in the last part of the cooking process as it can catch very easily on the bottom of the pan and burn. Be sure to also stir the sides of the pot as you go as well.
    To test if it is ready, see notes. Once it is ready, pour into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately. Allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge.
    If using correct canning methods for sterilising jars and sealing properly, the Tomato Chilli Jam can be stored unopened in a dark cupboard and should last for up to 12 months. Once opened, it must be kept in the fridge.
    Makes approximately 400ml. This recipe can easily be doubled.

Notes

Nutritional Values are for the whole recipe.

Tips and tricks for success:

  • The most important tip I can give you is to not let the mixture burn. It will take approximately 30-40 minutes to reduce to the consistency required, and needs to be stirred every 5 minutes at the start of this process. However, towards the end, in the last 10 minutes you need to stir it much more frequently. I would watch your mixture like a hawk as it can catch on the bottom of the pot very quickly if you are not paying attention. I’m speaking from experience as I have lost a whole batch when I got distracted, and after all the effort you put in, to lose a mixture right at the end, is very frustrating. You cannot rescue a burnt bottom!
  • Use a large pot. If you are familiar with making any jams or preserves, you will know that as it starts to thicken, it can ‘spit’ out onto the bench and stovetop. Using a larger pot helps prevent a sticky mess afterwards. Also be aware, when stirring, that the hot mixture can sometimes spit, so stir gently and be careful.
  • To test if your jam is ready, I use two methods. The first is using a thermometer – the target temperature range is between 103-104°C (217-219°F) for this softer set jam. Another way to tell if your jam is ready, is to put a couple of small freezer-proof plates in the freezer when you start to cook the jam. Once thickened, to test if it is ready, put a small amount of the mixture (say a teaspoon) onto the cold plate and leave it for a minute or so. Then using your finger, draw a line through the middle of the mixture and it should wrinkle and stay separated if it ready. If not, let it simmer for longer and test again in 5 minutes on the other plate.
  • The heat of this Tomato Chilli Jam is dependent on the variety of red chillies you use and whether you remove the seeds or not. See below for my recommendations to start with and then you can tailor it to make it even hotter or more mild once you have made a batch yourself. Just remember that chillies can also vary in heat depending on the time of year so having a little taste of one at the start can also help determine how many you use.
Mild – use 3-4 long red chillies, seeds and pith removed
Medium – use 4 long red chillies or 3 long red chillies and 1 red bird’s eye chilli (seeds removed)
Hot – use 2 long red chillies and 2 red bird’s eye chillies (seeds removed is optional)

Nutrition

Calories: 1399kcal | Carbohydrates: 347g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2414mg | Potassium: 2081mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 324g | Vitamin A: 5884IU | Vitamin C: 334mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 4mg
Have you cooked one of my recipes? I’d love you to tag me @katysfoodfinds or #katysfoodfinds!

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