A friend (her mother is from Singapore and her father is from Malaysia) gave me a sample of her mother’s homemade Achar. It was superb; absolutely fantastic as a side-dish to a main meal. It keeps ok in the fridge for 2 weeks.
I was so impressed that I asked for the recipe. The problem was that the mother did not have it written down; it was in her head. So the daughter helped her Mum make the next batch and recorded the process.
Here is the recipe for Malaysian Achar.
3 tablespoons oil (vegetable/rice bran)
1 tsp tumeric
3 cups white vinegar
1 Medium size carrot
1 Continental cucumber
100g Round beans (about 20)
250g Slightly roasted peanuts (without skin)
1 Big onion
5 Garlic cloves (segments)
Grate skin off carrot. Then cut into 1 inch strips
Cut cabbage into small bite size pieces
Break cauliflower florets and cut stems into strips
Cut cucumber into half. Remove seeds then finely slice into 1 inch strips
Top and tail round beans. Cut into 1 inch strips
Chop onion and garlic together in a food processer. Do not pulp.
Finely grind peanuts
In boiling vinegar, add vegetables separately. Cook each vegetable for about 2-3 mins then drain onto colander. Reserve at least a cup of the vinegar for later.
When vegetables have cooled, mix altogether.
Add 3 tablespoons of oil to pan. Fry onion and garlic until lightly brown. Turn heat down a little.
Add peanuts, remaining vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the onion/garlic mix and mix well. Then add all the vegetables. Turn off heat.
Add teaspoon of turmeric and add salt to taste. Mix well.
TASTING IS VERY IMPORTANT – Once achar is made, taste. If too sour add more sugar. Taste should be balanced more towards slightly sweet than sour.
Note: Charlesworth roasted peanuts give a very nice taste to Achar. Much better than those cheap pre-packaged roasted peanuts.