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5 from 1 vote

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

This tomato jam recipe comes from a restaurant that no longer exists. I am unsure who developed it, but it was on the menu when I worked there, as a kid. I LOVED this stuff and made it regularly. I'm sure I used it wrong, when I slathered it on my own meals, but I applied it, liberally, to almost everything. One of my favorites was to toss it with pasta and devour it when I got home. A strange combination, but one I ate often!

The flavor combinations are also a bit strange. It's a difficult recipe to pinpoint, in terms of ethnic origin. Is it Indian? Is it Moroccan? It initially feels like a sweet tomato jam from the southern U.S., but then the spices and aromatics harking from other countries start teasing the olfactory nerves, resulting in a powerful mélange of exotic tastes and aromas. That's my way of saying ... it's TASTY!

I don't remember how we used this in the restaurant. I want to say it was served with lamb, but I'd be lying if I said that with certainty. I think it tastes great on everything, but I would likely hold it up to bigger/bolder flavors: beef, lamb, goat, bison, ostrich, venison, etc. for example.

Oh ... now I want to braise lamb shanks in this stuff! Stay tuned!

Note: Makes about 1 1/2 cups of jam. The recipe is calculated for twelve 2-tbsp portions.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 12 Servings
Calories: 35.766666666667kcal
Author: DJ Foodie


  • 1 tbsp light oil (for sautéing ... such as coconut olive or ghee)
  • 2 tsp cumin seed ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seed ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 each garlic clove cut into thin rings
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes washed, dried and coursely chopped
  • 2 tbsp 'Swerve' or other sugar replacement
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar equivalent
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro washed, large stems removed, and chopped
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  • Place a large sauté pan over medium heat on the stove. Add your oil.
  • Making sure you've got your onions, garlic and ginger chopped and ready to toss into pan, watch for the oil to slightly "ripple" in the pan. When you see it ripple, add your dried spices (cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chili flakes). Swirl them in the pan for no more than about 3 seconds, or else they will burn. We want to "toast" them in the oil, not burn them. After 3 seconds quickly "save" the spices by throwing your onions, garlic and ginger into the pan and coat them with the hot spiced oil.
  • Add a little salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
  • Add your tomatoes and the two sugars.
  • At this point, you want to cook the tomatoes until the whole thing reduces to the consistency of a jam like spread. This can take anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on how quickly reduce the tomatoes. I suggest a fairly high heat, with a wide sauté pan. This will evaporate the most water, quickly. Let it gurgle for a minute or two, then toss it around, and let it continue to gurgle. Just don't let the bottom burn. Alternately, you can put it on a very low heat (without a lid) and not need to watch it as closely. It'll take longer, but you'll have more freedom to do other things.
  • Once it's reduced, remove it from the stove and adjust the seasoning. Make sure it tastes good!
  • Spread it on a cookie tray and place it in the fridge to quickly cool it.
  • Once it's cool, sprinkle your chopped cilantro all over it, fold it in and serve, save or eat!


Serving: 12g | Calories: 35.766666666667kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.3858333333333g | Protein: 0.64333333333333g | Fat: 1.8225g | Fiber: 0.96166666666667g