I’ve been such a delinquent blogger this month! I’m also the most delinquent Christmas shopper I know. At the rate I’m going, my Christmas gifts will be Happy 2013 gifts (I’m not even committing to a particular month) so my apologies to everyone on my Christmas list. Apologies also go out to the person who made me make this jam – a follower on Instagram asked me to post Christmas recipes about a month ago and now Christmas has come and gone. I’M SO SORRY. But better late than never, right? Right??
So the first of my three Christmas posts (coming soon are stuffed roast chicken and quezo de bola cheesecake) is tomato chili jam which I chose as a gift idea. I love that it’s a flavor that isn’t available commercially. I also love that it’s a “grown-up” jam that can instantly gourmet-ify a hotdog, grilled cheese, hamburger or cheese platter. You can pretty much go wild with it, really. And then of course, there’s the love that goes into a gift when it’s homemade. To make this entry even more special and Christmas-worthy, my friend Tabitha offered to take pictures. So pretty!
I used this recipe to make this jam and I used:
2 red onions
About 400 g cherry tomatoes
About 400 g local tomatoes
2 labuyo (bird’s eye) chilies
1 2-inch piece of ginger
1 star anise
1 cup white wine vinegar
About 1 and a 1/2 cups muscovado sugar plus extra to taste
There’s fish sauce in this picture and it’s used in the original recipe but I opted not to use it in the end. Anyhoo.
1. Get a medium saucepan ready on low heat. Halve the cherry tomatoes and quarter the local tomatoes. I guess you can choose to use only one kind of tomato but using two or even three kinds will result in a more complex tomato flavor. Finely chop the onions. When done, throw everything into heated saucepan.
2. Chop the chilies very finely. An intermission on chilies. I absolutely love heat in my food but since this was a gift and not everybody enjoys chilies as much as I do, I thought it was courtesy to tone it down a bit. Two chilies turned out very mild. If you want even less heat, you can halve the chilies, deseed and get rid of the white membrane inside before chopping since that’s where all the heat comes from. You can also halve the chilies with the ends still attached and remove them after cooking.
3. Add finely chopped chilies, star anise, vinegar and sugar into the saucepan. Grate in ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil then let simmer for 30 minutes or until very thick. You should be able to draw a line on the bottom of the saucepan and have it hold. Mine took the better part of an hour.
4. When done, adjust sweetness if you’d like. Discard star anise and transfer to sterilized jars. You can refer to the original recipe for instructions on sterilizing your jars. This didn’t make a whole lot. I had about a quarter of a jar left after filling the first jar. Anyway, I had some really nice nutty whole wheat bread and cream cheese on hand so I decided to make a sandwich with my tomato chili jam.
The jam has a really rustic feel to it because you get chunks of tomato and little soft bits of caramelized onions. It’s really more like a chutney. There’s barely any heat but the sweet and sour tomato flavor with a hit of fragrant star anise is interesting and very grown-up indeed. I’ve also since made a grilled cheese sandwich with this jam and that was nice, too.
To gift, feel free to pretty-fy.
I gave this jar to Tabitha to take home after our little shoot. That’s one person off my Christmas list, yebah.
Fun Food Fact: If you find yourself in a really really desperate situation for toothpaste, find comfort in the fact that you can suck on a star anise to freshen your breath.