Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nyonya Acar/Spicy Pickle Vegetables

I love Acar, but I never attempt to make it until a couple of weeks ago. Acar is a type of vegetable pickle/salad popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Made from different vegetables like cucumbers, long beans, carrots, cabbage and is pickled with spicy paste and vinegar. Ground peanuts and sesame seeds are also added to this dish. Acar is commonly served as a condiment to be eaten with a main course. This is a great vegetarian dish too.

I adapted the recipe from Star Kuali and simplified the ingredients and method to suit my taste and ingredients I have in hand.

Ingredients :

1 cucumber - (removed the seeds) and cut into 4cm strips
150g cabbage leaves, cut into 2.5cm squares
2 carrots cut into 4cm strips
150g long beans, cut into 4cm strips

To make into paste:

6 fresh chillies
5 dried chillies –soak in hot water until soft
6 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 cm fresh turmeric root/1 tbsp ground turmeric
1” galangal (lengkuas)
3 candlenuts/almond or macadamia nuts
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced finely
1” of shrimp paste (belachan) - optional

Vinegar mixture:

1 cup of white vinegar
1 cup water
6 tbsp of brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp salt
200g roasted peanuts, skinned and pounded
5 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

For blanching the vegetables:

600ml water
400ml vinegar
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

1. Rub cucumber slices with 1 tbsp salt. Leave aside for one hour. Wrap in clean towel or muslin cloth and squeeze out excess liquid. Put all the ground ingredients in a food processor and ground into paste and set it aside.
2. Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar for blanching vegetables to a rapid boil. Blanch the vegetables (except cucumber) one type at a time for 15 second. Remove and using a clean kitchen towel, squeezed the water out of the vegetable and set it aside.
3. Heat up about 3-4 tbsp of oil in frying pan and stir-fry the ground ingredients until fragrant and the oil begins to separate. Stir in water and vinegar. Add sugar and salt and bring to a boil, then leave to cool completely. Check seasoning as you might need to add more sugar to it.
4. Stir in all the prepared vegetables, peanuts and sesame seeds. Store in a clean jar and refrigerate.


vanillasugarblog said...

I love that you use the funkiest of ingredients and make them easy and tasty.

April Pantall said...

Wow - looks yummy. I'm pretty sure my husband would LOVE this recipe. Thanks for the idea!

Elin Chia said...

Hi Gertrude,

That was a nice nyonya acar :) well done! I love this with my chicken rice...yummy!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Hi, I just made acar not long ago. It's such a yummy dish, isn't it? I noticed you did not sun or dry the veggies in the oven first. Did it affect the crunchiness after blanching? I am curious because if they are still crunchy, I will skip the sunning next time. Thanks in advance for sharing!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Looks really good! I love to eat acar too but just a little at a time.

ICook4Fun said...

Dawn, they ingredients might look like a lot but it was pretty easy to make this dish.

April, hope you cook this for your hubby.

Elin, I love eating this with nasi lemak :)

Little Teochew, I didn't sun dried the veggies but it still stay crunchy as ever. Me being lazy just skip that sun dried part. Just be sure you squeeze the water out of the veggies really good.

LCOM, me too. I just eat a bit of if with my rice :)

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Thank you! Now I know it isn't really necessary :)

Little Inbox said...

My mom told me as long as the veggies are blanched in hot boiling water with salt and vinegar, it will stay crunchy. Hmm...long time not have acar, kind of missing it now.

Zue Murphy said...

Gert, thanks for sharing this recipe. Hot, sour, sweet all in one dish. I am hooked. This dish is very tasty. I will make some more following your recipe.

GoodyFood said...

Yum! This remind me of Acar Chicken!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This remind me long time I did not eat Acar, have to try this soon.Thanks for sharing.

tigerfish said...

Achar is very appetizing with steamed plain rice.

Jo said...

I love eating acar as well and have only made it one time. It's a little time consuming that's all.

petite nyonya said...

Wah, yumm! Acar never fails to whet the appetite. This recipe is more akin to Penang nyonya acar. I like the crunchiness of the veggies!

Anonymous said...

I love acar too, not only because of the taste of it, but because it's all vegetables. I prefer to make at home because I don't want it too spicy and too sweet.
I think your might have a typo error here :(because that much of vinegar could be very very sour for the dish!)

Vinegar mixture:

2 ½ cups of white vinegar

Sippity Sup said...

These veggies look super beautiful. Also, I made and posted your peach upside down cake. GREG

ICook4Fun said...

Little Teochew, you are welcome.

Little Inbox, thanks for the tips.

Zue, glad that you like the acar but sorry that you find it too spicy :)

Goody food, how is Acar Chicken. Do you have a recipe to share?

Sonia, you are welcome.

Tigerfish, yes it is.

Jo, Is not that difficult and I am going to make it again :)

Petite Nyonya, me too :)

Anon, you are right, there is a typo error there, I already change it. Thanks.

mycookinghut said...

Acar.. I love it too.. Never tried making it. Now you have inspired me to try it at home.

GoodyFood said...

Acar chicken is marinate the cutted chicken with salt n pepper, then deep fried the chicken til brown n cruncy with big flame. Lastly just soak the chicken with the acar. It's gd to have it overnite.

Beachlover's Kitchen said...

an authenic nyonya dish!! love it! I can eat the whole bowl just snacking watching TV but must add more peanut and spicy chille!

Food For Tots said...

Acar is my all-time favourite. Whenever I dine in a nyonya restaurant, I will definitely order this dish. You make me craving for one now.....

ICook4Fun said...

Leemei, do try this out and I am sure you will like it.

GoodyFood, thanks for the recipe.

Lesley, I too love this acar a lot.

Food for tots, me too.

Mable said...

I miss my mom's acar but this would be a great excuse to try and make my own. I love your blog and how you've dedicated it to Malaysian cuisines. Stuff that our grandmothers used to make. Keep up the good work :)

Christelle said...

I can't resist anything with peanuts in that's for sure :)))

ICook4Fun said...

Mable, this dish is pretty simple so I hope you try making this :)

Christelle, me too :)

Jess said...

You are a talent.. So so yummy. I added abit of Assam juice though

Shu Han said...

I also did achar a while ago but I think I simplified it even more than you >< because it's hard to get hold of the ingredients here in london. but surprisingly, not bad tasting at all! (:

Rose said...

Can't wait to make this dish as my husband is from Malaysia and it will be a good one to try. How long does it keep in the fridge?

Ashleigh Dio said...

Wow! I love eat achar... I'll try to make wnd i pretty sure my family willl like it. Thank you for the recipe :)

Roti Sunshine said...

I used rice vinegar to blanch the vegetables. However for the vinegar mixture, I used tamarind paste instead. I the boil the paste with the required amount of water and the end result was awesome. Suggest you use the seedless tamarind paste from Thailand.

Anonymous said...

Can I use the same recipe for chicken (Acar Chicken)? Thanks.