I make this every year for cheap-but-wonderful Christmas presents for family and friends. And I always make sure that there is enough made so that I can keep at least six jars for myself.
This is brilliant on cheese sandwiches, in a chili, or to pep up some chicken wings. Glass jars of all sizes are kept over the year and cleaned and sterilized to store this. I usually cook double or even triple the amounts given — but make sure you have a big enough pan.
This recipe makes about 1 litre, and is ready in 1 hour 20 minutes…
- 1kg ripe tomatoes, washed (the most flavourful you can get — homegrown are wonderful)
- 8 whole long red chillies, (or any sort you can get a hold of — adjust heat to taste, because this version is pretty hot, but won’t blow your head off)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 lemon grass sticks OR the zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
- 200ml red wine vinegar
- 600g golden caster sugar (you can use ordinary white granulated sugar, but this is better)
- 6 star anise
- Roughly chop the tomatoes, put into a pan, and blend to a smooth puree.
- Peel the ginger using a teaspoon (honestly the easiest and quickest way to do this).
- Roughly chop the chillies, garlic, ginger, and the lemon grass, then add to the blender. Pour over vinegar (and lemon juice and zest) and whizz until blended and smooth. Tip into a large wide pan. Add any remaining vinegar, sugar and star anise.
- Cook over a medium heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar.
- Increase the heat and bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat. Simmer for about 1 hour, until it has reduced and thickened.
- To test if it’s set, pop a saucer into the freezer for a couple of minutes. Spoon a little chili jam onto it, cool, then run your finger through it — the surface will wrinkle if the jam is at setting point. Continue simmering the jam if it doesn’t set, and repeat the saucer test. Divide the hot jam among sterilized jars, seal, and set aside to cool.
This jam can be stored in a cool place for up to one year. Keep covered in the fridge for up to six months after opening. Oh, and it’s worth warning people that there are whole star anise in the jam which should be removed before eating.