Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Achara / Atsara (Pickled Green Papaya)


Achara, or atsara, is a condiment made from pickled unripe papaya. This dish is often served as a side dish for fried or grilled fish or meat.  There are many versions of achara.  Aside from green papaya, other vegetables like white radish (labanos), onion, cucumber and bamboo shoots are also made as achara.  Carrots, ginger, onions and bell peppers are added to the papaya to make achara. The pickling solution, which is a mixture of vinegar, sugar and salt preserves the papaya and the vegetables. In air-tight and sterilized jars, achara will keep even without refrigeration. After the jar has been opened, it is best to refrigerate achara between uses.


The recipe for achara that I will be sharing today is from my mom who learned making the side dish from my grandma.  My mom and my grandma are achara lovers.  I remember my grandma making dozens of jars of achara when I was a kid and giving it to people when they came to visit. 
Yesterday, I was craving for something tangy to go with the fried flounder for dinner,  so I prepared achara.  Usually, you have to let it sit for a week before using it.  Nonetheless, my husband and I enjoyed the fried flounder with it along with stir fried veggies composed of cabbage, sweet potatoes, green beans and carrots - another vegetable side dish I learned from my mom. The recipe for that will follow.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups grated fresh green papaya
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into long strips
  • 1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 2 green chili peppers, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup white vinegar 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Procedure:
  1. Toss the grated papaya with 1/4 cup salt in a large bowl; allow to sit for 1 hour. Drain the liquid from the papaya and rinse thoroughly. Place the papaya in the middle of a large piece of cheesecloth and squeeze to drain as much liquid from the papaya as possible.
  2. Stir the vinegar, water, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan; bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the papaya and all the vegetables to the solution.  Stir and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the achara into sterilized jars, making sure the vegetables are completely submerged in liquid.
  4. Allow the vegetables to marinate in the liquid at least 1 day before using.  For a stronger taste, one week is suggested.
  5. Store in refrigerator between uses.

1 comment:

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