Helen’s Achar (Malaysian nyonya mixed vegetables pickled)


This is a good way to store your vegetables. With price increasing due to so many things happening around the world. It’s about time, we got to prepare food that can last long. I learnt from my mother and aunty as they learned from their mother. It’s similar to Kim Chi, but it’s cooked differently.

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.”

“Pickling is the process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The pickling procedure typically affects the food’s texture and flavour. The resulting food is called a pickle, or, to prevent ambiguity, prefaced with pickled.”

“A simple, delicious recipe that can be used with most any veggie! Make pickled cucumbers, pickled carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, onions, cauliflower, peppers, asparagus or green beans. Daily pickle consumption depends on what the rest of your diet is like. “If you’re someone who doesn’t eat a lot of processed foods, fast foods or store-bought foods, or if you’re mostly eating a very low-salt diet, then eating pickles daily might be fine.”

I love it so much as it reminds me about my grandma. Now it comes handy, as a meal that I can eat when I don’t feel like going to market or vegetables are expensive to get.  My achar 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 Tbs salt
3 Tbs 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 match sticks (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.




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