Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Acar / Achar

I think Acar is a great way to eat raw veggies. It's a pickled salad that's delightfully sweet, sour and summery all at once (wow, plenty of alliterations there).

You can get Acar quite easily in supermarkets here, but if I have the time, I like to make my own. Why? So that I get to control the amount of vinegar! Urgh, some of the commercially-made ones add soooo much vinegar, it is a health hazard to eat them. Truly, you can feel your oesophagus burn as the Acar makes its way down to your tum. Not good.

There are many recipe variations for Acar, given the cultural influences of every region, so there are no hard and fast rules. For me, I only like cucumbers, carrots, pineapples, shallots and peanuts in my Acar. I know some people add long beans, egg plant and cauliflower. Some also add belacan (shrimp paste). Well, it's your call :)

I love Acar as a side dish to Nasi Lemak or Chicken Curry. Oh yum! It brings a refreshing tang to a spicy meal.

(my own estimates making Acar today)
- 3 cucumbers, cored and sliced into strips (do NOT peel the skin)
- 1 large carrot, sliced into strips
- 1 Thai Honey pineapple, cut into chunks
- 1 handful shallots, peeled and sliced
- 100g peanuts, dry fried and crushed

- 3 tbsp rempah
- 1/2 cup white rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt

1. To make your veggies crunchy, you need to dry them out. In Singapore, where the sun is so strong it dries your laundry to a crisp, I laid out the cut ingredients on trays and placed them under direct sunlight. Otherwise, you can use an oven.

2. Now, the good thing about having a tub of ready-made rempah on hand is that you already take half the work out of making Acar. I guess you can also substitute with ready-made curry paste, if you want instant gratification ;)

3. After the veggies are dried, fry 3 tbsp of rempah in oil. Add the water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil.

4. Throw in the veggies and quickly coat them thoroughly. Do not cook the veggies. Leave to cool before bottling. Refrigerate.


  1. Every time I visit your blog, I hear about new ingredients :)

  2. Hi ah nya,
    this is my first visit to you blog, Like this dish which go along well with porridge. thanks for shareing this recipe but can you give more detail of the rempah prepareing - what is the gm for each spice? hope to do this soon..Haaa
    Thanks in advance!!


  3. Kenny: Come lah!

    Nurit: LOL! :D

    Heok: That's going to be tough cos I never weigh! I thought my photo-by-photo post on "Curry Rempah" was self-explanatory ;P Truth be told, each time I make it, it's not entirely the same.

  4. I too learn something new every time..I love crunchy vinegary summery :) vegetables with a main course..One day..I will make rempah and this..At first I thought you were using Agar~ Agar:)

  5. Haha totally agree with you on the "sunning" bit in Singapore. I love achar and would you believe I even add it to my cold tofu!

  6. Ohhh I love acar. Don't remember when was the last time I had it! Very nice done!

  7. Nana: LOL! You surprised me with Agar Agar! :D I will trade a tub of rempah for one of your gorgeous pressed flower trays ;P

    Jo: Wow, you love acar more than me!

    mycookinghut: Thank you :) Looks like we all love acar!

  8. This is a great way of controlling the vinegar you're right! Sometimes it way too sour but I can imagine doing it yourself would make it just about perfect! :D

  9. Pineapples and peanuts and cucumbers....God, what a mouthwatering combination. Pickles encourage me to just keep on eating. With this one, I'd never stop! ;)

  10. this looks like a nice summer mixture to have around. how long does it last if you make a big batch?

  11. I miss this!!! The sourness and spiciness is so appetising!

  12. Your achar looks so authentic and beautiful. I can almost picture myself sinking my teeth into the cucumbers and hear that delightful crunchy sound :D

  13. Lorraine: Yes, homemade = tailor made! :)

    Mia: Me too ... can't stop!

    Justin: It's been 4 days now. We're almost finished, heh heh. So, I can safely say, 4-5 days? Maybe you can bottle them in jars! :)

    Pigpigscorner: Oh yes, how can I forget to mention the "spicy" bit?! Doh!

    noobcook: Thanks :)

  14. MMMM looks so appetizing...I must make acar too...m feeling hungry just looking at the pic...thanks will try ur recipe when i make this time! :)

  15. Making your own is always a better call! These look delicious!

  16. MMMMMMMMMM,....what a lovely & fresh dish! Look at those colours!! I so love it!!

  17. Zurin: Thanks! :)

    Marta: Yes, I agree :) Thanks!

    Sophie: Thanks! And welcome to my blog :)