Monday, 28 January 2013

Thakkali Jam - Tomato Jam

                          When I stood there watching my In-laws and co sister, blanching and pureeing tomatoes, fifteen years ago, little did I know that certain fragments of that moment was going to be frozen in my memory for years to come.


                          The ladies rubbing shoulder with each other, their voices filling the room, with some suggesting; "needs more sugar", " a little more spice will be good", "careful don't let it burn", and instructions flowing from all sides, the tiny kitchen filled with the sweet aroma of the boiling tomatoes,  the chattering of the women, the impatient nagging of the children, the ladies taking turns to stir the jam, I still remember the jam boiling in the floral printed, dark porcelain pan and many of us waiting to feed our taste buds and pronounce our verdict. There was no refrigerator to tell them of the setting point, but their experience told them when to stop. It's not just the making of the jam alone, but on the whole, cooking was more fun and a delightful experience back then, which was more lively, unlike the rattling sound of the ladle that echoes in my kitchen and fills the empty space.



                       Don't even try to make this with leftover tomatoes. If you are making the jam pick the right tomatoes which are ripe and red. Even on ordinary days, I go out of control, when I see these scarlet beauties and end up buying as much as my hands can carry. With the jam in mind, you can guess how much I would have loved to pick these ripe and plump fruits to all my heart's content. It's the kind of tomatoes that is used, decides the colour and the taste of the food that is prepared, so choose deep red fruits that is not sour.  Apart from the traditional method, I wanted to try and find how the jam would taste, if made without blanching. The jam made without blanching had a different texture, appeared more red, but tasted almost the same. But, I guess I would still stick to the traditional method always.




Ingredients
Tomato                         1/2 k
Sugar                             150 gms
Lemon juice                 1 tsp
Cloves                           2
Cinnamon                     1 inch piece
Cashew                         1 tbsp
Dried black raisins     1 tbsp


Method
Add water to a wide mouthed vessel and bring to a boil.
Add the tomatoes and continue to boil for 4 minutes. Turn off heat.
Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and peel the skin.


Chop into small pieces and puree the tomatoes.
Strain the tomato puree and extract the juice.
Transfer the extracted juice to a cooking pan and bring to a boil.
Add half the sugar and continue to boil on med-high heat, continuously stirring.
Add cloves, cinnamon and lemon juice.
After a few minutes add the remaining sugar and stir.



By 20 minutes the mixture will begin to thicken, reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir until the setting point has reached. This is will take less than 5 minutes. Check by dropping a tsp of the jam on a chilled plate, if it runs on the plate then it needs a little more boiling.
Even without using a chilled plate, it is easy to understand if the jam is done, when the mixture thickens and boils like a thick lava, without any liquid, then the setting point has reached.
Add the cashew and raisins and give a final stir for a few seconds, remove from heat and leave it to cool.


With the given amount you won't require any sterilisation of the jar to fill the jam, as it will be gone in just one sitting. Refrigerate the jam if there's any leftover. But when made in large quantity, follow proper canning procedures.
I usually fill in well cleaned jars, cover the mouth of the jar with a piece of muslin cloth and tighten with the cap, immerse them in a vessel filled with water and boil for about 10 minutes. Remove the jars when cool. The jam canned this way has a longer shelf life.
The other method I tried was by pureeing the tomatoes straightaway without blanching and used the strained puree to make the jam following the same procedure, but without the dried nuts and raisins.
The jam tasted more or less the same, tasted delicious, yet there was a difference in the texture.






2 comments:

  1. Hello. Lovely pictures and some very interesting recipes as well. But isn't there an index for the blog? :/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks. Since the 'GALLERY' page serves as a pictorial index for the recipes, I feel there's no need for a repetition. Go to gallery page and click on the names of any recipe that you wish to access, they are all categorised under proper labels and I guess this helps better, because by looking at a picture, you get to understand what the name of the recipe implies.

    ReplyDelete

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