Acar Awak / Spicy mixed pickled vegetables
Acar is a type of pickled vegetables, and is normally served as a condiment for a main course. The sour taste of the pickle is meant to freshen up a meal, especially fishy or oily dishes.
Acar awak is a fairly popular Nyonya acar. It is a sourish, sweetish and, at the same time, spicy in taste. You can have this dish cold or hot, but it is normally serve cold. Also the acar tastes better after a few days in the refrigerator. We like our acar awak to go with nasi lemak and plain rice.
300g cucumber, leave the skin on, remove the soft center. Cut into strips about 3cm in length.
100g carrots – cut into strips about 3cm in length
300g cabbage – cut into 3cm size pieces
100g french beans – cut into 3cm lengths
100g long Beans – cut into 3cm lengths
100g cauliflower – cut into small pieces
1 tsp salt
Note1: You can also add pineapple and brinjal, but I like my acar to be crunchy, so I left these two ingredients out for this recipe. Feel free to add them and use the basic principal of blanching the vegetables as a guide.
Note 2: Make sure your cucumber is fresh, otherwise it will be soggy.
Note 3: Remember, my method is Nyonya Cuisine Made Simple – everything is quick, simple and still tastes authentic. This is a method suitable for those living overseas, as we don’t get the hot sun almost half the year to dry the vegetables, so we have to be smart in how we prepare them.
- Choose fresh vegetables, so that they are crunchy.
- No need to place vegetables in the sun.
For scalding vegetables:
- 600ml water
- 300ml vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp salt
The proportion of water and vinegar ratio varies; it can be 2:1 or 3:1. Some prefer more water and less vinegar and some would prefer more vinegar. For me, I prefer 2:1 ratio, so I do not have to add more vinegar to the spices later. The instructions from the Little Nyonya Acar Paste, however, use more water (see below). There is no right or wrong proportion; you have to trial and error on which proportion suits you.
- Roasted ground peanut
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Little Nyonya Acar Awak Paste 250g
- 3-4 tbsp oil
- Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar to rapid boil for blanching the vegetables.
- Blanch each type of vegetable individually: Cabbage: 2-3 seconds and the rest of the vegetables 8-10 seconds.
- Drain all vegetables in a colander. *Note do not rinse the vegetables after blanching.
- Further dry them on a dish cloth. Lay them on the cloth and pat dry. You can gently squeeze the water content from the cucumber if necessary. Set aside.
- Heat the oil. Once the oil is hot, lower heat to medium and add the Little Nyonya Acar Awak paste; stir the paste for about 30 seconds.
- Add in all the vegetables, gently stir to mix and turn off the heat immediately.
- Add salt/vinegar* or sugar to taste.
- Dish out the acar, garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds and serve. Note: Acar tastes better if left overnight.
Heat the oil. Once the oil is hot, lower heat to medium and add the Little Nyonya Acar Awak paste; stir the paste for about 30 seconds.
Add in all the vegetables, gently stir to mix and turn off the heat immediately
- The acar awak dish can be dry or a bit watery. It depends on the water content of the vegetables.
- *You should not need to add more vinegar in the paste as I have used quite a lot of vinegar to blanch the vegetables to start off with.
- Keep the remaining acar in an air tight container & in the fridge. It should last up to 2 weeks.
Preparation time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Number of people: 2-10
Get your Acar Awak paste:
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