Acar Recipe (Acar Awak)

September 26th, 2009Recipes, Salad40 Comments

print Acar Awak  Recipe (Nyonya Spicy Mixed Vegetable Pickle)


300g cucumber, cut lengthwise with the skin and seeds on
150g cabbage, cut into big pieces
50g carrot, skin peeled and cut lengthwise
50g French beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
50g long beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
50g roasted peanuts, ground
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
5 tablespoons oil

Spice Paste:

5 Shallots
12 fresh red chilies
1/2 inch fresh turmeric (or some turmeric powder)
2 Candlenuts

Tamarind Juice:

Tamarind pulp, about golf ball size
1 cup water


  1. Soak the tamarind pulp in water for 15 minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice and set aside.
  2. Blend the spice paste in a food processor and set aside.
  3. Heat up a wok and add oil. Stir-fry the spice paste until aromatic. Add tamarind juice and bring to boil. Add salt and sugar to taste.
  4. Add all vegetables into the wok and turn off the fire immediately. Add ground peanut, stir to mix well.
  5. Dish out, let cool and serve. Acar is best served overnight.

Cook’s Note:

You can keep acar in the refrigerator for a few days.

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40 comments... read them below or add one

  1. phybee says:

    im so happy wen i stumble across yr site by accident. im a nyonya who luvs the food but never kno how to cook n onli start trying to do so last few years as i’ve really missed home food since living in uk. big well done to u for kindly sharing all yr nyonya recipe wit us all…….

  2. ttml says:

    thanks for sharing ^^

  3. Tricia says:

    Hi There!

    This is one of my favorite food to eat! Everytime I balik kampung from US/Canada. Please correct me, I was told it’s a lot of work bcos the veggies needs to be boiled, and dried b4. That’s why I’ve never tempted to try this. But, your recipe looks soooo easy!

    I can’t wait to try this!!! Yum!

    • Nyonya Food says:

      Yes, some recipes call for boiled vegetables but my aunt doesn’t do that because she likes her vegetables crunchy and not over-cooked. ;)

  4. Yohan says:

    Hi Bee,

    Thanks for the delicious recipe. When I was a kid, my grandmother used to make it in big quantities and put them in bottles in the refrigerator. I remember she put the cut vegetables for a few hours under the sun. If I remember correctly, in order to make it crunchy. That’s also why she only made it during the sunny period.

    • Nyonya Food says:

      Yohan – yes, you are right. Not sure about drying the vegetables though because my family doesn’t do that, but who knows!

  5. oh my god! I miss this so much! We used to call it “curry acar” or more like “kali acar” for the malay slang :) Thanks for the recipe and definitely will make it one day!

    • Nyonya Food says:

      Billy – awesome. Please do take this recipe with a grain of salt. My aunt “agak agak” the ingredients so may not be the most precise recipe. ;)

      • Yum Yum! says:

        Hehe… I got a chuckle out of the “agak agak” statement… That’s how the good recipes are… right?

  6. npm says:

    Yr aunt’s acar looks lip-smacking! I love acar! When the appetite is rather low, acar always comes to the rescue!

    • Nyonya Food says:

      Yes, my aunt is a great Nyonya cook. She has learned everything from my late grandmother. Now, I am trying to learn from her. :)

  7. sharon says:

    it looks so delicious !!!!!!!!!!! i can’t wait 2 try it……….

  8. KY says:

    Whoa, it looks so good!! I saw the picture on Rasa Malaysia’s site and clicked on it instantly! Will try it one day. Now I’m going to check out the rest of your recipes which I’m sure are going to be scrumptious as well! :-)

  9. A says:

    Strangely, the Philippines has its own version of pickled vegetables called “Atsara,” which I find sounds so much like Malay “Acar.” But our version is more like American pickles, which are sweet.

    And when Filipinos make Atsara, it’s usually one type of vegetable with other veggies used as “accents.” Raw papaya is a favorite, pickled with a few slices of carrot, onion and ginger. Bitter gourd is used too.

    Great blog! It’s interesting to see the similarities between Asian cuisines. :-)

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  11. Sabrina says:

    Thanks Bee!!! This is one of my absolute favorite dishes in the whole world. One question about the fresh red chillies. Are they the same ones we find in M’sia? I live in New Jersey and the red chillies (also green ones) I find in Asian stores are bigger and longer than the ones from home. Should I use those?

  12. Tony says:

    Hi Bee,
    Love all your recipes and so simple too.
    My grandma use to dry the cucumber in the sun…
    and she only sprinkle the peanuts and sesame seeds (toasted)
    when we serve so the acar will keep longer in the fridge.
    But great recipe!

  13. Ang says:

    Do you have curry lemak recipe

  14. A. Lee says:

    Are candlenuts easily found in the Asian grocery stores? Are they labeled as such, or under another name?

    I’m going to give this recipe a try, as I really miss the wonderful flavors of Penang food. Love your website – I’m your newest fan on facebook. Keep up the good work!

    • Nyonya Food says:

      Thanks for being a fan. Yes, you can find candle nuts at Asian grocery stores, just have to look closely for them. If you can’t find them, substitute with macadamia nuts.

  15. musical says:

    This is a beautiful recipe! We call spicy preserves achaar in several northern Indian languages too. I find it always so heartwarming to learn about similarities in different cultures and thanks to your recipe i can now taste Nyonya style home made acar too.

  16. Angeo says:

    Wow I can’t believe how easy your recipe is and the picture looks delicious! My vegetables are outside drying in the sun as I write. I got the recipe from the mum of an ex boyfriend from S’pore. She was a Japanese woman who had to prove herself a worthy wife before my boyfriend’s great-aunt gave her all the family recipes. And in turn I had to really beg and show I was a good prospective daughter-in-law and wheedle and flatter my way into her good books before she would divulge to me! As soon as I had the pickle recipe I dumped him. I’m unscrupulous when it comes to the acquisition of secret family recipes. Nyahahaha. My family are Scottish and they beg me to make the pickles every Christmas/New Year time. The spiciness adds zing to otherwise boring Christmas meats such as baked ham and turkey. Thankyou to all Asian families who share favourite recipes!!! Keep them coming!

  17. Yien Ting says:

    Hello =) thanks for sharing the recipe! I would need to substitute the tamarind pulp with tamarind powder, how much would you reckon to put into it? Do i need to put in vinegar? thanks for your time.

  18. Pam says:

    I noticed your recipe didn’t have belachan….are you supposed to put some belachan in there?

  19. Shu Han says:

    Thanks for the recipe! it really helped me a lot in making my own achar, althogh i had to substitute alot of ingredients that are hard to find here in london. great tips, thanks!

  20. Teh Kah Kin says:

    i noticed some cook added prawn paste. Fried the prawn paste till dry then set it aside. Fry the spice paste then add on the dried prawn paste plus the tamarind juice. Personally – I prefer acar acar with prawn paste – it smells more aromatic and taste better

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  25. rhoda says:

    thank you for your sharing this i realy like this i make this on saturday my mum like this;-)


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