Monday 13 August 2012

Nyonya-ish Achar (Spicy Pickled Vegetable Salad)

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Achar/Acar, is a kind of Spicy pickled vegetable salad, commonly served with Chicken rice(which I'll be blogging about soon) and Nasi Lemak. It's spicy, sweet and sour flavour is really appetising and I even eat it on it's own. Not exactly a good thing as I ran out of it so quickly. I made this on a Friday evening and by Monday, it was all gone! Thanks to Mummy I can cook's recipe, it was simply delicious! How I wish I made more!!
There are several different ways of making achar, one being the Nyonya version. In this version, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflowers, tumeric, green chillis and sesame seeds are the essential ingredients and as you can see in the recipe below, I used pineapples which from what i heard is a big no no. However, I like pineapple as it imparts a nice touch of sweetness to the achar so I threw some in... opps!!... I also forgot to buy peanuts so I replaced these with cashew nuts and macadamia nuts...double opps!! you know why I put an -ish in the title. ;)

This recipe was adapted from Mummy I can cook's proper nyonya recipe so please head over there to have a look. 
Adapted from Mummy I can cook 

500g cucumbers
100g carrots
100g pineapple
100g french beans
1/4 cup of white rice vinegar
1/4 cup of unrefined cane sugar, to taste

For blanching/salting
1 tbsp unrefined sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 cup rice vinegar + 1 cups water

For the rempah
150g (3-4 large) shallots
2 red chillies
2 green chillies
1 stalk lemongrass
1 heaped tsp turmeric
1 tbsp sunflower oil, for frying

To finish
large handful freshly toasted sesame seeds
small handful of crushed freshly toasted cashew nuts
small handful of crushed freshly toasted macadamia nuts

1. Chop all the cucumbers, carrots and french beans into finger-length batons.Chop pinapple into chunks. 
2. For the cucumbers, sprinkle over most of the salt and set aside to sweat. 
3. For the carrots and french beans, blanch very briefly in the boiling vinegar-salt-sugar solution, just long enough for the water to return to a boil. Drain and chuck into a very low oven to dry for about half an hour.
4. Pound/blend your rempah ingredients and then fry the paste in medium low heat till aromatic. Add the vinegar and sugar, bring to a boil, and then let cool.
5. While it's cooling, drain, squeeze and pat dry the cucumbers. Combine with the other vegetables/pineapple, sesame seeds, cashew nuts and macadamia nuts, then pour the rempah over, and mix well. Don't worry if it seems the marinade can't cover all the vegetables, they will start releasing their own liquid as they pickle/ferment (use non-reactive bowls or glass jars). Let the vegetables sit in the marinade for at least a day before eating.


  1. yay glad I inspired you to make achar too! I'm very sad I've finished my jar of achar already, need to re-stock up!!

    (btw why's pineapple 's a no-no?)

    1. Nyoyna achar is suppose to last a long time but pineapple becomes mushy and is not suitable. But of course, judging from how long we take to finish the achar, it really doesn't matter. hahaha

  2. Ohhh I want some.. Delicious :D
    I could have it with plain white rice... Yummmm :)

  3. I love acar too! it has been too long I haven't had it!

  4. You have prepared a wonderful version of Shuhan's pickles! I am sure pineapple tastes great here (I love pineapple with hot spices). Thanks for tempting me with achar once more!

  5. I'm not familiar enough that I don't know why pineapple was a no no. I love pineapple and I also think it will taste delicious!! Great side dish!

    1. It's just that pineapple is not a suitable ingredient to be kept in a jar for a long time, that's all. :)

  6. I can certainly see why you wanted more! Love pickled vegetables and this version looks absolutely delicious! Great idea to add the pineapple!

    1. Love the touch of sweetness pineapples add to it. :)

  7. Now I kinda miss Achar after you posted it! The condiment that can be just perfect with steamed rice :)


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