Helen’s Achar (Malaysian nyonya mixed vegetables pickled)


Google: What is achar: “Appetizing, sour and spicy great taste, achar is always a popular and high-demand “commodity in in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. They are mixed vegetables with a very flavourful mix of spices and herbs that give you that sour, salty, sweet, slightly spicy, and umami taste at the same time. They are so delicious that you will find an excuse to eat them with pretty much anything.” My grandma used to cook it all the time and handed down to my aunt and mom. I have learned from helping and watching my mom make them.

This is a good way to store your vegetables. In time of Corona virus, shortage of fresh vegetables. No worry you can have vegetables. Its pickled and can last for about 2 months. Make sure use dry spoon to take vegetables out from airtight container and keep in fridge. Let’s cook!!!!


8 cucumbers
5 tbsp of salt
3 Tbsp sugar
5 carrots
1/2 cauliflower
1/2 cabbage

To make the sauce

6 candle nuts, pound and blend till fine
1 small brown onion, peeled, and blend
3-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled, and blend
1/2 inches galanga, peeled, cut and blend
4-6 dried chilli, cut and blend
8-12 fresh long red chilli, seeded
3 stalks of lemongrass, using only 7cm of the root end, cut and blend

To fry with the blended sauce ingredients above

Oil for frying
1 packet A1 action 1 instant curry paste
5 Tbs chilli paste with soya bean oil (hot)
2-4 Tsp turmeric powder
1 Tsp belachan paste (bought in a bottle)
600-700 ml white vinegar
300 g sugar

For blanching

1 litre of water
100 ml vinegar
150 g sugar
2 Tbs salt


Slice off the ends of the unpeeled cucumbers, cut half lengthwise and removed the membrane then cut thinly. Place cucumbers in basin and marinade with salt for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes squeeze dry, do not wash, and toss it in sugar. Leave in for a further 20 minutes. Transfer the cucumber in a muslin cloth and squeeze to extract the excess water. Place in colander to drain really dry for at least an hour until they are almost dry to touch.

Peel and wash the carrots, cut them into matchsticks (thick), set aside to dry. Cut and wash cauliflower (florets) and the cabbage into 1/2 inches width and length. Set aside to dry. Bring the blanching ingredients to a boil and blanch the cauliflowers, carrots and cabbage for 30 secs. Remove and drain really dry.

Blend the sauce ingredients individually starting with the hard one first. Heat oil and fry the blended ingredients, turmeric, belacan paste, curry paste, and chilli paste until the oil floats up. Then add the sugar, vinegar and salt to taste. Let the sauce cool down about 2 hours. Transfer sauce into a big bowl.

Place the carrot, cucumber, cabbage, and cauliflower into the sauce and toss to really mix well. Serve cold with plain rice or coconut rice with deep-fried anchovies and battered prawns or fried black pepper calamari.

Note: Separate them into smaller plastic/ freezer container to store them in freezer for 4-8 weeks or glass bowl in the fridge 2 -6 weeks provided no water drips inside and always use clean dry spoon. If you cannot take too hot omit the chilli paste with soya bean oil (hot) or use less fresh chilli or omit dried chilli.




  1. FoodTrails says:

    Such an easy pickle recipe.. sounds so flavourful!


  2. helenscchin says:

    Reblogged this on helenscchin's Blog and commented:

    Have this with Nasi Kunyit, beef rendang and salad. See recipe on Nasi Kunyit beef rendang, achar and salad on helenscchin.


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