Pickles or Acar as Indonesian believe is good side dish whenever you eat something greasy or high-fat food. Not side dish that everyone will like but for me, pickles are really important. I love when it comes with Martabak, mie ayam, or even with simple nasi goreng. It just leveled up the food in a magical way.
Pickle has many names and shape. Indonesian call it Acar. Ajad in Thai that common to serve as satay condiment. Atchara in Philipines made with green papaya. Achaar in India that made from mango, their national fruits. Achards in Madagascar. In French it called Chornicons that never go wrong with hams and help to balance the cheese. Japanese called it Gari for ginger pickles that served between dishes. Korean called it Jangajji and use it as starter of Korean meal.
The most common Acar in Indonesia comes with two types. The raw and the cooked ones. The main ingredients are same which is cucumber and carrot. In raw acar, you just need to make good liquid and get the freshest ingredients. For the cooked Acar (which usually said Acar kuning) you need more complicated ingredients and get the sour taste from Asam jawa (tamarind), not vinegar (we will make it in another time).
I tried making Acar since I was in high school. My auntie taught me. She said good Acar made from hygiene and fresh ingredients with the right pickling liquid. When you have unclean and not so fresh ingredients, it will be easily bad. The perfect pickling liquid will be tasty, not too sour, not too sweet nor salty.
Liquid picklings has three major ingredients: Water, sugar, and vinegar. Some people said salt is important too, then it will be four. The common way to make pickles is when you start to dissolve sugar (and salt) in boiled liquid (water and vinegar). Then you pour the pickle ‘starter’ into jar glass or simply ceramic bowl and you put your ingredients that you want to pickling as soon as possible. Let them sit for at least 6 hours or maybe more to absorb the flavour and acid from vinegar.
There are no strict rules about how to make acar liquid. You can try as experimental as you can. You can use less or skip the salt if you have some health striction. You can add more vinegar if you want your acar getting ready faster as long as you remember to remove the liquid afterwards your acar is ready. Once I tried doubled my vinegar and keep them soaked in a few hours and I can’t eat it since it was too sour.
Ingredients Indonesian Pickle aka Acar
- 300ml water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- salt for taste
- 1 cucumber
- 1 carrot
- 15 green chili
- 10 onion
How to Make Indonesian Pickle aka Acar
- Remove the bottom and the head of cucumber. Peel the cucumber in strippy way. You don’t have to peel off everything. Cut in half and remove the seeds. Set aside.
- Peel off the carrot and cut it in cubes. Set aside.
- Add the water, sugar, salt, and vinegar in your pot. Bring them to boil. Make sure that all the ingredients are dissolved completely.
- Pour the hot liquid pickling into the jar or bowl until the cucumber, carrot, chili, and onion covered.
- Let the jar or bowl open and the liquid cool in temperature room.
- It will be ready in 6 hours. You can keep it longer to get more intense flavour. If you store it right, it will be good at least 1-2 months in shelf life or 6 months in the fridge.
Video tutorial How to Make Indonesian Pickle
To get easier understanding of how to make Tape Ketan, I already made video for you. Here’s the video
The crunch from your cucumber and carrot with punchy and zingy taste will be blend perfectly with aromatic shallots after few days in pickling liquid. This kind of Acar will be nice to have with greasy martabak to cleanse the palate. Just perfect combination.