Acar Awak (spicy mixed vegetable pickle)
This dish acts as an appetiser in any meal.
It adds zest to a plain dish of fried ‘economy’ beehoon.
300g cabbage, cut 3cm thick
100g cauliflower, cut into small florets
100g carrots, cut into 3cm long strips
100g french beans, cut into 3cm lengths
100g long beans, cut into 3cm lengths
100g pineapple, cut into small pieces
1 purple brinjal, cut into 3cm long strips
Cili padi (depending on preference)
1 tbsp salt
For scalding vegetables:
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
Spice paste (ground)
20g (1 stalk) serai
50g (30) dried red chillies
100g (10) shallots
40g (5 cloves) garlic
15g (2cm) fresh turmeric
5g (203 slices) galangal
10g (3) candlenuts
20g belacan, toasted
20g (3 tbsp) coriander seeds
2 tbsp vinegar
9 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp salt
100g peanuts, roasted and coarsely pounded (for more crunch)
4 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted
1. Quarter the cucumber lengthwise without peeling and remove the core. Cut into 3cm-long strips. Knead 1 tbsp salt into the cucumber slices and leave aside to marinate for 1 hour. Wrap the cucumber slices in a clean towel or muslin cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Lay the cucumber slices on a tray, cover with a thin cloth and sun for 2-3 hours. (This will give the cucumber a nice crunch).
2. For the other vegetables, sun them separately in trays for 1-2 hours.
3. Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar for scalding vegetables to a rapid boil. Blanch the sun-dried vegetables, one type at a time: 2-3 seconds for the cabbage, and 8-10 seconds for the rest of the vegetables. Never overcook the vegetables or they will lose their crunchiness. Drain vegetables and set aside.
4. Fry the spice paste in hot oil until it rises and separates from the paste. Season with 9 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp salt. Bring it to a boil. Stir in 2 tbsp vinegar, turn off heat and set aside.
5. Add in all the vegetables, grounded peanuts and toasted sesame seeds and mix well.
This authentic acar recipe, courtesy of Adrian Cheah, was handed down to him from his mother, Aunty Patsy, an expert in nyonya cooking. Although it will keep for quite some time in the refrigerator, chances are it will be finished off before long, given its delicious taste.
C-Right 2014 Langkawi Gazette