Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nyonya Acar / Achar (Spicy Mixed Vegetable Pickle)

There are many variations of acar based on different family preferences, cultural influences and backgrounds. There are no strict rules for making acar and I like mine to have lots of pineapple in them. Instead of using store-bought rempah like how Little Teochew did, I have made my rempah from scratch and I reckon the extra effort of doing this is definitely worthwhile.

With the smaller kind of hot chilies that I used, the rempah that I made is more toward the spicy side. For this reason, my acar is not suitable for my three year old son's consumption. Despite that, he was "kind" enough to give me a thumb up when he realised that his daddy and mummy were enjoying these acar to the fullest... LOL!


nyonya acar achar spicy mixed vegetable pickle


This will make the carrot and cucumber stay crunchy!
My very sun-dried vegetables
 
Making the rempah
The key ingredient of my acar, PINEAPPLE!
nyonya acar achar spicy mixed vegetable pickle
Mix all together
Thumb up for mummy's acar - Too spicy for me but mummy and daddy love it!

Here's the recipe from Kuali.com by Amy Beh
(with my notes and modification in blue)

500g cucumber, quartered lengthwise (soft centre removed) and cut into 4 cm strips

(I used about 3 cucumbers)
150g cabbage leaves, cut into 2.5 cm squares
(I didn't add this)
150g carrots, cut into 4 cm strips
(I used about 1 carrot)
150g long beans, cut into 4 cm strips
(I didn't add this)
200g cauliflower, cut into small pieces
(I didn't add this)
50g dried prawns, soaked and pounded
(I didn't add this)
My favourite addition: 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into large chunks


Halved and cut into 4 cm strips:
3 red chillies
3 green chillies
(I used a total 6 large red chillies)

Slice thinly:
50g young ginger
(I didn't add this)
3 cloves garlic
3 shallots

Grind:
10 fresh chillies
(replaced with 14 small hot chillies)
5 dried chillies
10 shallots
(replaced with 1 large onion)
5 cloves garlic
2 cm fresh turmeric root
(replaced with 1/2 tsp ground turmeric)
1 tbsp sliced galanggal
3 candlenuts
2 cm cube toasted belacan or 1 tsp belacan powder
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced finely

Vinegar mixture:

100 ml vinegar
200 ml water
5 to 6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
125g crushed peanut candy or 100g roasted peanuts, skinned and pounded
(I didn't add this)
4 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

(increased to 6 tbsp)

For scalding vegetables:

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


Rub cucumber slices with 1 tbsp salt. Leave aside for one hour. Wrap in clean towel or muslin cloth and squeeze out excess liquid (I didn't do this step). Place cucumber on a tray and sun for two to three hrs (this makes the cucumber crunchy). For the other vegetables, sun them separately in trays for one to two hrs. 
Note: I sun-dried my vegetable on a super-hot and dry 40°C Melbourne summery day for 3-4 hrs. I was worried at first assuming that I have over-dried my vegetables but they are ok and they are crunchy until the acar is finished.

Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar for scalding vegetables to a rapid boil. Blanch the vegetables, one type at a time: dip cucumber and cabbage in boiling mixture for two to three seconds; scald the rest of the vegetables - except chillies - for 8 to 10 secs. Drain vegetables at once in a colander.

Heat oil (2 tbsp of canola oil) in wok and fry the ground ingredients until fragrant and the oil begins to separate. Stir in vinegar and water. Add sugar and salt and bring to a boil, then leave to cool completely.

Stir in dried prawns, ginger 
(I didn't add prawns and ginger), shallots and garlic and all the prepared vegetables. Remove and store in a porcelain jar or a clean, dry glass jar. When about to serve, mix in peanuts (I didn't add this) and sesame seeds.

Happy munching
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36 comments:

  1. Love the thumbsup tagline and the picture of your son's thumbs up, so cute! Those cutie little fingers are adorable arent they :). I love acar, the mix rice shop near my house makes a good one, and i always stop by to buy some. Will try to join this one if i can.

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  2. I love the combination of flavors that you are using, including the combination of pineapple in a savory dish!

    The result provides us with a dish full of color, sunshine and a good entry in the spring!

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  3. I can have rice just having acar itself. Sweet, sour and spicy...my favourite kind of combo flavour. By the way is salad dish with pineapple accepted?

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    1. Hi Vivian,

      Of course! Anything that has pineapple will be accepted!

      Zoe

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  4. Nice! I would be too lazy to make it at home :)

    My husband loves achar, but he always takes the most spicy one that I can't even have :D

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  5. So much work! But I love achar...maybe it's time to try and introduce my family to it =P hehe. Do you know how long it will keep in the fridge?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dumpling Love,

      These acar was totally gone within less than a week and they were ok until the last acar piece was finished. I can't really tell if they can last more than one week.

      Zoe

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  6. Wow such wonderful flavours in this recipe, I bet it tastes incredible! Pineapple is my absolute fave :)

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  7. This Achar looks delicious love all the veggies in there.

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  8. Wow..wow... I love this achar so much!

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  9. Hi Zoe! Achar is very versatile! I especially like those "rojak" version with lots of nuts!

    Thanks for organizing this... Pineapple... hmmm.. let me search for a good recipe...

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  10. Hi Zoe, I've added a link back to this event, however I must be going blind cos I cannot seem to find the inlinkz code for this event. Can you direct me to the right place? Thx!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Yen,

      Thanks for linking with me :D I have decided to make this just a link-up event (like Aspiring Bakers) rather than blog-hop event and so didn't provide any Inlinkz code for any blog hop. Like Aspiring baker, so that anyone can host this event whenever they want.

      Zoe

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  11. Hi Zoe,
    Your acar looks very good! I wanted to make this too for CNY, but really have not time at all!
    I've linked a sweet and sour pork using pineapples as one of the main ingredient besides the pork! A simple dish!

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  12. this Acar is my all time favourite, very appetiting

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  13. Oh wow I love this! So refreshing and appetising...

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  14. Hi Zoe, Thanks for sharing this anchar recipe. I'm sure my family would love this very much. BTW can I link my pineapple jelly here as it was posted yesterday?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ann,

      Of course, you can! I will be happy to have you linking up with our pineapple event :D

      Zoe

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  15. I luv vegetable pickle...so delicious and flavorful.

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  16. Wow this looks so amazing and colorful!! Lovely flavors, I am sure. Though I am not a big fan of pineapple, this surely looks a winner recipe

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  17. Hi Zoe
    I just posted my melt-in-the-mouth pineapple tarts last night (but still considered 5 Feb asian time), and I dun have any tarts left to take a picture with thumbs up cos we finished all 50 of them over the weekend. Oh no, how?

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  18. Like the last picture with a thumbs up! I like acar but never study a recipe b4. i also didn't realise that the vegetables are needed to dry before cooking!

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  19. Hi Zoe,
    Achar looks yummy...gots my mouth watering.

    I am giving away a lovely family CookBook this month . For a chance to win. Enter here.
    http://bit.ly/XE2xNp

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  20. thumbs up for you!! i've never attempted acar, this is wonderful seeing you making your own achar! i love them, infact i just had them yesterday at a rice stall!40C in mel?? that's really super hot!!

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  21. Hi Zoe,谢谢你的邀请(^^)
    不好意思,我英文很烂
    请问要怎样join你们呢?

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    Replies
    1. Hi J.O,

      All you need to do is to 1) bake or cook anything with pineapple 2) mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kids or/and my little favourite DIY 3) submit your details on my Acar post and your link will be on my post :D

      Zoe

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  22. I love how you added so much pineapple...yum! I made chili over the weekend and my daughter thought it was too spicy...but she managed to have a second bowl :)

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  24. Acar is One of my favorite side dish,looks tasty and refreshing YUM :)

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  25. Looks like a lot of work but the result is worth it!

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  26. I love this acar very much, very hard to get in the market now...even more difficult to make sigh!

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  27. Looks delicious! Colourful, full of vegetables and spice. Lola and Finn would hate it so there is more for me. Result!

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  28. I like to enjoy Acar with prawn cracker during CNY, but now runnig short of time to prepare this, can courier some to me, hehehe..
    Happy CNY and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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  29. Hi Zoe,

    Acar is always very additive, me too like Sonia like to enjoy this with prawn crackers. Can munch none stop..lol

    You are brilliant to add pineapple into your achar. I bet this is finger licking good!

    ps..your Ryan is so kind to post his little thumb for you:D
    mui

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  30. Hi Zoe,

    Thank you for dropping by my blog and inviting me to join the event! I've linked back to it, cheers!

    Yin

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