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Achar (Nyonya Pickles)

Achar Recipe

Tumeric is permanently staining on clothes, certain materials (such as plastic bowls) and surfaces. Use non-staining crockery and cookware. I use an old wok and spatula specifically for cooking anything with tumeric in it.

Check out the detailed step-by-step photos at the previous page.


  • 1 medium cucumber (about 400 to 450 grams)
  • 1 small carrot (about 150 to 200 grams)
  • 150 grams Chinese cabbage leaves
  • 40 grams skinless roasted peanuts pounded
  • 2 tbsp skinless roasted sesame seeds
  • 200 grams pineapple flesh cut to small chunks
  • 3 tsp sea salt divided

(A) Achar Paste

  • 80 grams peeled shallots
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 2 candle nuts
  • 3 dried chilli soaked in hot water to soften, then de-seeded & cut to shorter lengths
  • 3 fresh red finger-length chilli de-seeded & cut to shorter lengths
  • 1 stalk lemongrass use only the bottom white portion, sliced as finely as possible
  • 5 grams peeled galangal (blue ginger) sliced; may substitute with ginger
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder add it separately if you do not want to stain your food processor
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

(B) Seasonings

  • 125 ml rice vinegar
  • 100 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder for extra heat; to taste
  • 100 grams granulated gula melaka or brown sugar to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ikan bilis seasoning powder to taste; optional



  1. Cucumber. Cut cucumber into 3.5 cm sections (crosswise). Quarter each section (lengthwise) by cutting around and discarding the seed block. Slice thinly. Coat sliced cucumber evenly with 1 tsp salt for 1 hour. After an hour, rinse cucumber and place them in a coconut squeezer bag. Wring out excess water. Spread out cucumber on a wide plate. Air dry for one hour.
  2. Carrot. Peel carrot and cut into 3.5 cm sections (crosswise). Halve each section (lengthwise) and slice thinly. Stack the slices and cut (julienne) into thin matchsticks. Coat carrot with 1 tsp salt for 1 hour. After an hour, rinse and pat dry on paper towels. Spread out cut carrot on a wide plate. Air dry one hour.
  3. Cabbage. Cut cabbage into bite-sized pieces and coat evenly with 1 tsp salt for an hour. After an hour, rinse cabbage and pat dry on paper towels. Spread out cabbage on a wide plate. Air dry one hour.

Achar Paste

  1. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend or pound (A) into a smooth paste.

Cook and Store

  1. In a wok, stir fry to cook acar paste until aromatic.
  2. Add (B). Mix well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Turn off the stove. Stir in prepared cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, pineapple, peanuts and sesame seeds. Season to taste.
  4. When cooled, store acar in sealed glass containers, refrigerated. Allow the acar to pickle overnight before consuming. Store for about 4 weeks in the fridge.
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12 comments on “Achar (Nyonya Pickles)”

  1. Sour, spicy and sweet…what a flavour party!

  2. The prep. of the vegetables, cut-salt-rinse-dry needs patience and there is what I lack. :O

    This is super-addictive Achar !

  3. I have never tried anything like this…from the list of ingredients, this vegetables must taste delicious…
    Have a great week ahead Wiffy :)

  4. Pingback: Achar (Nyonya Pickles) | Simply Chinese Cuisine

  5. Very crunchy and goes very well with rice!

  6. Do you by chance sell the nonya pickles

  7. Hi, where do I buy candle nuts in Singapore? NTUC? how does it look like? Thanks!

    • they look like macademia with rough surface. You get get from the dried goods section of local supermarket – the section which sells dried chilli, tang hoon, etc…

  8. Which brand of rice vinegar is good for achar.
    Can I use rice wine vinegar? Is it the same as rice vinegar?

  9. Pingback: One of my off-day – YINGYING

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