“We’re jamming” – every time Bob Marley says that, I hear “pyjamas”. Luckily a quick google search showed me that I am not the only one. But hey, this was not what I was planning to say.. Ok, I made jam!! And it’s from my most beloved fruit, tomatoes! Yes, I call tomato a fruit because I’d like to support the scientific thinking. A tomato is technically a fruit, but the use of it in mostly savoury dishes makes it a vegetable in practice. This jam, though, is not the regular jam as you know it – this one has a very, and I mean very, spicy sauce in it called “harissa”, coming from Maghreb cuisine.
Making jam is actually a simple process, however you have to pay attention to several things, especially if you are not using pectin. I do not use it, and I do not recommend it, but of course it’s up to you. There is a very useful post about making jam at home without pectin in another blog, I will give you the link so that I do not repeat the tips and techniques: https://highheelgourmet.com/2013/07/04/basic-jam-for-beginners/
I had heard about “tomato jam” before, but I had never eaten it until I made it myself. I love tomato in any form and I eat it every day. So the idea of jam was pretty intriguing and I had to try it. I had only made jam once before, a slightly hot blueberry jam (https://mydearkitcheninhelsinki.com/2014/01/20/blueberry-lemon-and-chili-jam-my-first-jam/) so you can see that I like adding a bit of twist in the jam!
In this jam, I added harissa sauce (or some call it paste). Harissa comes fro Maghreb cuisine and is mostly associated with Tunisia, Libya and Algeria. I saw various versions of it on the internet; it consists of garlic, herbs, different kinds of seeds but the use of seeds change from one recipe to another. I adapted the one from the mezze cookbook I bought from Turkey, adding some vinegar to the original recipe in the book and increasing the amounts of ingredients. It was, however, a very painful thing to do because the dried red chilies made me sneeze, cough, feel burned all over my hands and any part of my face that I touched with those hands. But I made it, and I am not planning to use dried red chilies for anything else any time soon.
Anyway, in this blogpost I am giving the recipe for harissa first and then tomato jam using it. You can also find harissa ready in the shops (I saw a small jar in S-market the other) but it is always nicer to make it by yourself. You can also use this tomato jam recipe to make regular jam by keeping harissa out of the picture. I also give two open sandwich ideas using tomato jam. Happy jammin’!
Difficulty: ★☆☆ (Easy)
(makes about 500 ml of harissa and 350 ml of jam)
60 gr. dried red chilies, seeds taken out, soaked in boiling water for 24 hours (change the water a few times and fill in each time with new boiling water. I did this 4 times. Cover all the chilies with water and it will be enough.)
2.5 tbsp coriander seeds
2.5 tbsp cumin seeds
45 gr. / about 15 garlic cloves
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar (you can use red or white wine vinegar too)
1/2 cup / 1.2 dl olive oil (you might use less, check step 6 below)
For tomato jam:
1 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped, no peeling needed
1/2 cup / 1.2 dl sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar (or red / white wine vinegar)
2 tsp harissa (you can use up to 1 tbsp harissa according to your wishes of hotness)
Two open sandwich ideas with harissa tomato jam:
a. Whole wheat bread, tomato jam, goat cheese slices and poached egg
b. Whole wheat bread, tomato jam, avocado slices, a bit of lemon juice on avocados, and sesame seeds
First make harissa:
1. In a medium pan, on medium heat, put coriander and cumin seeds and roast them for a couple of minutes, constantly stirring. Put aside to cool down a bit.
2. Drain the soaked chilies, keep the water.
3. Using a mortar and pestle, grind roasted seeds to a powder.
4. In a food processor, put garlic cloves and 2 tbsp of the water from soaked red chilies, and beat them a little.
5. Add red chilies, ground seeds, salt and vinegar and beat them for a few minutes, until you get chilies as small as possible and all ingredients well mixed.
6. Continuing to beat the mixture, slowly add olive oil until you get a relatively smooth paste. For me, 1/2 cup olive oil was just enough, but if you have a paste texture with less, just leave it as it is (of course, alternatively, you might have to use more olive oil if you think it is not enough). Harissa makes a good dipping sauce mixed with yogurt as well. Put it into a well sealed jar and store in a cool place or in the refrigerator, it will keep well for 1-2 months.
Second, let’s make the jam!
7. Put chopped tomatoes in a blender and roughly beat them – you don’t have to get a very smooth tomato juice, in fact, don’t turn them too much into a juice!!
8. In a medium pot, put all the ingredients, give it a bit of stir.
9. Put the pot in medium heat and let it boil while continuously stirring. Once it boils, let it boil by itself for about a minute or two (during this time pectin is formed) and then lower the heat to let the jam simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir it with a spatula every once in a while so that it does not burn at the bottom.
10. Once the jam is done, put it in a well sterilised jar (I boiled the jar) and seal it well. It says well in a refrigerator up to 2 weeks.