Tamarind Chili Jam
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We spotted this Tamarind Chili Jam recipe in a Food and Wine article a few years back. It immediately drew us in as it’s quite a unique recipe that you don’t see every day. We had a whole bunch of Tamarind left over from another dish we created so figured we’d give the jam a try. This dish turned out to be a revelation to us. It’s a phenomenally tasty jam with a depth of sweet, sour, and spicy notes that is now a staple in our refrigerator

The beauty of this Tamarind Chili Jam in addition to how amazing it tastes is it will keep in the fridge for about a month after cooking. So while you may prepare this dish for say, a beautiful side sauce to a curry you’ve made – you’ll have a big batch of it remaining for other uses. If you love it as much as we do you’ll find it ends up being put into everything, even as a spread on some toast in the morning!

Tamarind is a fantastic Fruit to use in home cooking

Tamarind is a fruit that is very widely used in Asian and African cooking. It has become increasingly popular in western cooking over the past few years, and is now readily available in grocery stores and supermarkets worldwide

It has a lovely citrus taste, yet not as overtly powerful as Lemon or Lime. It’s use in cooking is very similar to other citrus fruits and is often paired with sweeter ingredients to create balanced sweet and sour flavors. This is exactly the case for our Tamarind Chili Jam. The Tamarind is paired with Sugar to create a lovely sweet, yet tangy Jam

How to make Tamarind Chili Jam

Tamarind typically comes packaged in large blocks. The blocks are essentially concentrated Tamarind that has been pressed and packaged for easy shipping. To extract the flavor from the Tamarind Block it must be soaked in boiling hot water. We’ve found the best method to get as much of the Tamarind out is to frequently press the Tamarind while it’s soaking in the hot water

The Water will turn a very dark brown, almost black color. After about 20 minutes of soaking, the water will be ready for cooking. You will need to strain the water however to remove the Tamarind fibers. These typically aren’t eaten, and do not have a nice texture. Best to discard them

We then fry up a combination of Tomatoes, Garlic, Fish Sauce, Vinegar, Chilis, Sugar, and combine them with the Tamarind Water. The mixture is cooked down until it forms a thick jam-like consistency. This process will take about one hour, and you’ll be left with a simply amazing tasting Tamarind Chili Jam

Tamarind Chili Jam in jar
Store your Tamarind Chili Jam in a sealable container and it will keep for up to 2 months in the fridge

Your Tamarind Chili Jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months

Because of the high sugar content, this Jam will be shelf stable for up to 2 months after you make it. Which is great, because it has such a concentrated flavor you really don’t need to use all that much at once!

This recipe produces about 1 ½ cups of Tamarind Chili Jam, which will be more than enough to keep you going over a few months. What you’ll find is once you try the Jam, you’ll want to eat it with everything. It tastes that good!

What are some dishes you can eat with this Tamarind Chili Jam recipe?

This Jam is so versatile and can be used in so many different cooking applications. You can eat it like you would a chutney or relish, and serve it as a topping for Pizza, or even sauces for Hamburgers. The sweetness of the Jam adds a lovely kick to Pizzas and Burgers

It’s an amazing condiment to pair with Indian Food, so any homemade Curries will love this Jam as a side. Try pairing this Tamarind Chili Jam alongside some fresh Yoghurt Sauce for some beautiful sweet and savory sauces alongside your Curries

It also makes for a great substitute for traditional Jam! Give it a try on baked dishes such as Pancakes and Scones as a spread for a fun, unique twist on some classic breakfast dishes

We’ve got a bunch of recipes that would pair great with a side of the Homemade Tamarind Chili Jam. Given you’ve got a couple of months of shelf-life for this jam, that’s plenty of time to try these amazing dishes:

Recipe Details


4 – 8 people

Prep time

30 minutes

Cooking time

2 hours

Total time

2 hours, 30 minutes

Tamarind Chili Jam Recipe


  • 4 oz. Tamarind Block
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 lb. Tomatoes, cored and finely diced
  • 4 Red Chilis, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger, chopped
  • 1 cup Fine Sugar / Caster Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Fish Sauce


  1. Begin by making Tamarind Water. Cut Tamarind into 1-inch pieces, then cover with boiling water in a bowl. Leave for 20 minutes
  2. Strain the water by running it through a fine sieve. Ensure that you capture all the pulp from the Tamarind, so when straining, push as much through with the back of a spoon. Once strained, set aside
  3. Place your finely diced Tomatoes into a Saucepan over medium heat along with the Sugar, 3 tbsp. Tamarind Water, Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic, Chilis, and Fish Sauce
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring constantly then reduce to a simmer
  5. Simmer for about 1 hour, until the sugar has thickened the mixture into a jam like consistency
  6. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp. of Tamarind Water then let the Jam cool for 1 hour

This is a super tasty side that can pair well with vegetables, stir fries, curries, you name it. We even put it on a Pizza once and it was absolutely brilliant! Check out how this Jam goes with our lovely Vegetarian Cauliflower and Eggplant Curry recipe here. Happy cooking!

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