One year back Potato Cutlet
I had wanted to try the tomato jam in my kitchen since quite some time. My first attempt at making a jam was when I made apple jam while in high school. Although it came out well yet I could not grasp the nuances then. The consistency was never regular and at times it used to quite frustrate me. Mum never made jams so she was of little help in this matter. Years of cooking and practice have made me more confident and I understand the tricks and nuances better.
The other day at the super market when I saw these brilliant red coloured tomatoes I couldn’t stop myself from buying them by kilos. My husband was pretty shocked by this bulk purchase and on being told of my plans; he gave me a rather blank look. He does not like tomatoes…period. Perhaps he didn’t want to hurt me by showing his disdain towards the jam or, may be towards my intention…I am sure a tomato jam in the house was something he could not fathom! (In fact I have to puree them before I add them to the savoury dishes and I am the only one who ends up eating them in the salad.) Actually my daughter rides in the same boat. They both have similar tastes, like and dislikes so that leaves poor me completely outvoted.
The fact that I love tomatoes was the primary reason for me to go ahead and throw all my apprehensions to the wind regarding the kind of reactions that I would elicit from both my husband and my daughter. I entered the kitchen with a purpose. The beautiful plump red beauties seem to be calling out my name, beckoning me to transform them into an irresistible jam for the cynics (read hubby and daughter) 😉
I usually try to do my cooking or baking while they both are away. I have this weird kind of style of functioning in the kitchen; I want the kitchen to myself while I am at the stove. I don’t like someone talking to me while I am at work or even stirring the pot for me! Talking makes me lose my focus and second, I know when and how much I need to stir the contents in the pot simmering over fire. So stay off limits! My daughter often complains that I should put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ board outside the kitchen while I am at work. Not only cooking, even the clicking part is done before they are back from work.
So this jam was made when she was away to school and hubby at his work place. I was eagerly waiting for them to return home. As soon as my daughter came, I offered her to taste the jam. Her reaction was not very discouraging (or that is what I would like to believe!)…all she said was ‘it’s OK’. Next, enters the hubby. He started hunting around for some snacks in the kitchen and his eyes fell on the jam. Without any prompting from me, he grabbed a spoon and took a little bit from the jar. (I wondered if his action was driven by hunger or was it curiosity!) I looked at him with awaited breath…without looking at me, he again scooped the spoon inside the jar and this time the spoon was holding more amount of the jam which he happily mopped. I exhaled with delight and content; almost a coup moment for me! I believe he couldn’t help fall in love with the enchanting red colour and the delicious enticing sweet-spicy flavours of this jam. Need I say more about this jam?!?
I used the following amount of ingredients: (this recipe can be easily doubled) I have given the jam a little Indian twist.
½ kg tomatoes
450 gm sugar (feel free to adjust)
1 small onion
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp mustard oil
½ tsp nigella seeds
1½ tsp red chilli powder (+/-)
½ tbsp white vinegar
½ tsp garam masala (optional)
Blanch the tomatoes, remove skin and finely chop them
Smoke the oil in a heavy bottom pan. Remove the pan and let the oil cool slightly
Again put on fire and add onion, ginger and garlic. Sauté till they become golden and aromatic.
Add tomatoes and cook for approximately 25 minutes.
Add sugar and after 10 minutes add garam masala, nigella seeds, red chilli powder, vinegar and salt.
Cook till you achieve a jam like consistency. Check for the done-ness of the jam.
Keep a plate in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Once you reach the last stage of the process, remove the jam from heat. Drop a small amount (a spoon) of jam on the plate. Let it stay untouched for about half a minute and then run your finger through the jam. If the jam shrinks, it is done. Another way you can check is that it should not run down if you tilt the plate.
Storing the jam:
Sterilize the jars in which you wish to store the jam. Fill the jars with jam and leave ½ inch space between the lid and the bottled jam. Seal and put the bottle in hot water (not immersed) for approx 10-12 minutes. Remove and leave it for a day; ensure you don’t move the bottle.
Serve with grilled chicken or prawns, cold meat cuts, in burger, patties, with cheese and crackers or of course spread on bread or even paratha, as a side…or just enjoy spoons full straight from the jar J
Note: You need to switch off the heat when the jam is not too thick in consistency since it thickens further on cooling. (It should coat the back of a spoon and slowly drip down). Else, you will have crystallized/hard jam. Therefore the done-ness test is important.
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