tomato chilli jam recipeHere’s another DIY foodie gift idea just in time for Christmas (and just in time for tomatoes coming down in price!). This is a Peter Gordon recipe, which I got via Ruth Pretty (a Wellington caterer/chef who I adore – if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend Ruth’s cooking school on the Kapiti Coast).

Anyhow, I digress. If you asked me what you can always find in my pantry, this’d be on the list: It’s like sweet chilli sauce for grown ups. It’s super versatile and goes with nearly everything: All meats, poached/fried eggs, quiche, it’s gorgeous in a stir fry sauce (use it in the place of sweet chilli sauce)… It’s kick-butt delicious on a pizza base… I even have it on top of my cheese on toast..  Sometimes I use it as an Asian salad dressing for Thai Beef Salad (3 Tlb chilli jam, add a bit of rice wine vinegar and a half teaspoon of sesame oil – amazing).  One of my favourite ways to serve it is as a dip: Get a big platter. Turn out a tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese into the centre of the platter. Surround it with corn chips (don’t be shy, load them on). Cover the cream cheese with a generous amount of chilli jam. Get dippin’. Amazing. I usually package this up as a Christmas gift with a vintage knife or fork tied to the jar. Simple and stunning.

(Yields 400ml)

500g (5-6) ripe tomatoes (cores removed and roughly chopped)
3 red chillies (or more, or less, as per your taste buds)
5 garlic cloves (peeled)
2 thumbs ginger (peeled & roughly chopped)
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
300g (1 cup plus 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp) sugar
100ml (6 tbsp plus 2 tsp) red wine vinegar (white or cider vinegar works just fine too!)


  • Place half of the tomatoes, all of the chillies, garlic, ginger and fish sauce in a large non-reactive pot.  Get a stick mixer and blend the mixture to a fine puree.
  • Add sugar and vinegar to the pot. Turn the heat on and bring the mixture to the boil slowly, stirring all the time.
  • Cut remaining tomatoes into a 5mm dice, seeds, stem and all and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, turn the heat down on your saucepan to a medium boil and add diced tomatoes.
  • Cook on a medium boil for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to release the solids that settle on the bottom. Be sure to scrape the sides of the saucepan during cooking so the entire mass cooks evenly.
  • When it is ready the jam will look thick and be fully amalgamated. If you wish apply the standard jam test*
  • Pour/ladle into sterilised jars and seal immediately**
  • Tomato Chilli Jam can be kept for up to 18 months.

* Standard jam test (that my Mum taught me): Before you start cooking, pop a saucer/small plate in the freezer.  When you think your jam/relish is ready, get out the (now very cold) plate. Pop a drop of jam on the plate. After a few seconds push the jam with your finger.  If the jam surface wrinkles then it has reached setting point and is ready. If it slides about as a liquid, then it hasn’t reached setting point and should be returned to the heat and boiled for a few more minutes before testing again.

** I wash my jars in the dishwasher, or very hot soapy water. Once they are clean and dry I pop them in the oven at 120 degrees celsius in a roasting dish (easier to get them in and out that way) for half an hour while I make the jam. The trick is to bottle the jam while both the jars AND the jam are piping hot, including screwing/placing the lid firmly on (use oven gloves and be really careful not to burn yourself!)

By the way, the labels on my jars are lovely vintage chalkboard foodie labels from this website– they are by Lia Griffith and you can download them, customise them, print them. Lia has awesome Christmas gift tags and labels too – here are the chalkboard style labels (similar design to the jar labels), and here’s some adorable woodland Christmas gift tags.

tomato chilli jam recipe