Tamarind-Chile Jam


"Move over tomato ketchup, barbecue sauce, and mayonnaise," says cookbook author and recipe developer Lara Lee. "There's a new condiment-that-goes-with-everything in town!" Meet Tamarind-Chile Jam, a one-pot wonder that is sweet, spicy, sour, sharp, tangy, and pungent all at once. Savory, funky fish sauce balances the fruity sourness of the tamarind, while long red chiles add a pleasantly strong piquancy to this thick and sticky jam. Its uses are endless; spread it on a sandwich, serve it alongside sausage rolls, dollop it over eggs, dunk sweet potato wedges into it, or use it as a condiment for meat, chicken, or fish. For those who are heat adverse, seed the chiles before adding them for a milder jam. Use a wide, deep saucepan for faster reduction time—be careful of splattering jam—and take the pot off the heat as soon as the jam has reduced to 1 1/2 cups; it will continue to thicken as it cools.

Tamarind Chile Jam
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 pound tomatoes (about 3 medium tomatoes), cored and quartered

  • 3 to 4 fresh red chiles (about 2 ounces) (unseeded), stemmed and roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)

  • 1 ½ tablespoons roughly chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 4 teaspoons)

  • 1 ¼ cups superfine sugar

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Tamarind Water (see Note), divided

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • 1 whole star anise, toasted


  1. Pulse tomatoes, chiles, ginger, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped and well combined, about 8 pulses. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, 3 tablespoons tamarind water, vinegar, fish sauce, and star anise.

  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until jam is thickened and reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  3. Remove mixture from heat; stir in remaining 1 teaspoon tamarind water. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.


Associated Recipe: Tamarind Water

Make Ahead

Store jam in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.

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