Recipe: Smoky Tomato & Date Jam
From Lerato Umah-Shaylor's 'Africana'
This jam is a treasure I am thrilled to share with you. Dark, rich, smoky and sweet, this could well be your new favorite ketchup. A wonderful addition to an African afternoon tea or dolloped onto roasted plantains for canapés, served alongside chips or spread on a chapati for My Golden Ugandan Rolex (see page 66).
Smoky Tomato & Date Jam
Makes 2 x 200ml jars
400g vine-ripened tomatoes (plum, cherry or any red great-quality tomatoes)
100g pitted dates
1–2 green chillies, stemmed
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon ground selim1 pepper, from 3–5 pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
60ml apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
YOU WILL NEED
2 × 200ml sterilised jars
Place the tomatoes, dates, chilli, ginger and garlic in a food processor and purée until smooth.
Add the selim, cumin and fennel seeds to a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Tip into a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and blitz to a fine powder.
Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a non-reactive saucepan then add the purée and apple cider vinegar. Stir in the toasted and ground spices, the paprika, ground ginger, cloves and cayenne pepper, season with the sea salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the sugar, stir well and leave to simmer with lid slightly ajar for another 30 minutes, stirring now and again. The purée will caramelise and reduce to a thick consistency.
While still hot, carefully scoop into warm sterilised jars, and secure tightly with clean lids.
Store in a cool dark place and the jam will keep for up to 3 months. Once opened, keep refrigerated and use within a month.
From Africana: More than 100 Recipes and Flavors Inspired by a Rich Continent, by Lerato Umah-Shaylor. Photos by Tara Fisher. Published by Amistad, HarperCollins.
Grains of Selim / Selim Pepper
This is one of my favorite spices: a long, dark, smoked pod with its mysteriously musky flavor and aroma. It is known by many names—in my mother’s Ibo/Igbo dialect in Nigeria it is called Ada, while in other parts of Africa it is known as Senegal or Kana pepper or Ethiopian pepper. In this book it is the magic ingredient in Smoky Tomato & Date Jam, and in several soups and stews. Lightly smash it and drop into soups and stews, or place the pods in a bouquet garni and remove before serving. The pods can also be crushed or ground to a powder.
[Read more about grains of selim here.]