Recipe: Acar (Pickled Vegetables)

Acar has always been a family favourite!

Acar Chopstick Diner

This pickled vegetable dish is seen in abundance especially during Chinese New Year. It also makes a great last minute dish, especially when we have unexpected guests over and we do not know what to serve them – out comes a tin of keropok and a bowl of Acar!

My family eats Acar with fried rice, plain rice, keropok, etc. Acar is definitely a condiment that goes well with everything Asian.

I know some people who love food with high acidity. If you are one of those who pours a bottle of ketchup to eat with your meals, then you can be qualified as one who loves food with high acidity.  This pickled vegetable recipe will definitely tickle your fancy too.

Pickling vegetables not only improves the vegetable’s flavour but it can also make the ingredient more nutritious and easily digestible. During fermentation, the bacteria produce vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B12. So, you’ll indirectly have your supply of vitamins when eating pickled vegetables.

Here are a few tips to the perfect Acar:

  1. It is advisable to use rice vinegar when pickling Acar vegetables. This is because rice vinegar has a subtle taste as opposed to using distilled white vinegar where its taste is more pungent.
  2. Store jars filled with Acar in a cool, dark, dry place
  3. Although pickled vegetables can be eaten for “years” we do advice to use the contents within 1 year.

Enjoy your pickles everyone!

Homemade Acar

Preparation time: Do this if you have lots of spare time!

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Recipe: 

  • 1kg cucumber, deseeded and cut into long strips
  • 1 bulb garlic, skin remove and finely diced
  • 500g carrots, skin removed and cut into long strips
  • 1 inch ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric juice*
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly fried without oil until slightly brown
  • 5 candlenuts, pounded
  • 500ml rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Method:

  1. Place cut cucumber, carrots and salt into a clean muslin cloth. Squeeze hard to remove liquid. Alternatively, you can leave the ingredients overnight in a muslin bag and compress with a heavy object to further remove the liquid in the vegetables.
  2. Lightly fry ginger in a non stick wok over small fire until slightly fragrant. Remove from wok and leave on a clean plate.
  3. Repeat steps for garlic and candlenuts, frying each ingredient separately.
  4. Add vinegar, sugar, turmeric juice in a large bowl and turn on heat. Once ingredients have reached a boil, remove from heat and let it cool.
  5. Pour vinegar mixture into a large container once cooled. Add cucumber, carrots, sesame seeds, ginger and garlic to the mixture. Keep container in a cool, dark cupboard until ready to use.

* Turmeric juice can be obtained with grated turmeric, put it in a muslin bag and squeeze the juice out from the pulp into a clean bowl. Discard the tumeric pulp and perhaps even the muslin bag you’ve used as it’ll definitely turn yellow!

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