Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Acar Rampai


I love acar (pickles), in particular Nonya acar. It's been a while since I made some . This delicious acar used to grace my family dining table during Chinese New Year. 

It's a lot of work. Peeling, slicing, blending and sauteing. No wonder it makes its appearance only once a year.

There are many variations of spicy acar and I decided to try something different.


The difference between this Acar Rampai and Nonya Acar (the version my family makes) is that it contains dried prawns (hae bee), ginger and dry spices. 

Since I made a small portion, it wasn't as laborious. 

One thing to note when you prepare the vinegar mixture is always go for intensity. You want sour sour, sweet sweet and salty salty.

Why? Because during the pickling process, the vegetables (especially the cucumbers even after salting) will release liquids and dilute the seasonings.


After cooking the acar, let it sit for an hour or two. Mix it after an hour to ensure even pickling. Taste and adjust for seasoning.  It must be sweet, sour and salty.

Leave for another hour, repeat the process and taste again. Once you are happy, you can store in an airtight container or a bottle and keep it in the fridge.

It is best consumed the following day when the flavors are more intense.


Well, I found this Acar Rampai to be very tasty on account of the addition of dried prawns. But if I were to make this acar again, I would leave out ginger because it did not quite suit my tastebuds.

Acar Rampai
Recipe source : Adapted from Dapur Tanpa Sempadan

Ingredients :
- 2 cucumbers, each cut into 4, core removed and juliened
- 2 carrots, sliced lengthwise and juliened
- 2 red chillies, cut lengthwise, seeds removed and juliened
- 2 green chillies, cut lengthsiwe, seeds removed and juliened
- 10 small onions, cut into halves (if small, can leave whole)
- 8 cloves garlic, cut into halves
- 5 slices ginger, finely juliened (I would prefer to omit in future)
- 1 heaped tbsp dried prawns, rinsed and dry fried till crispy and pounded
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
-1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup distilled vinegar + 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 heaped tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup

Spice paste (blended)
- 1 big onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 candlenuts
- 5 dried chillies, soaked to soften

Method :
1. Put juliened cucumber into a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1/2  tsp turmeric. Toss to coat and leave to stand for an hour. Then gently squeeze to remove excess moisture and set aside
2. Heat oil and saute cinnamon stick, star anise, mustard seeds until aromatic.
3. Add blended spice paste,  pounded dried prawns and tomato ketchup. 
4. Saute until oil rises.
5. Add vinegar and sugar mixture and stir. Simmer until mixture is thick.
6. Add carrots, onions,garlic and ginger. Simmer for a while until carrots are slight tender but still crisp.
7. Add chillies and cucumber and toss to mix evenly.
8. Taste for seasoning.

Note : 
- Salting the cucumber will aid in releasing water which will ensure your acar will not be watery.  It also makes the cucumbers crunchy. After an hour you will notice lots of water pooling under the colander. It is not necessary to rinse the cucumber. Just gently squeeze the cucumber to remove remaining moisture. The cucumber will be salty, so you might not need to add additional salt to the acar.

- I like to transfer the acar into a big bowl and let stand for an hour. After that, toss and taste. Add more vinegar, sugar or salt if necessary. Let stand another hour, toss and taste again. Adjust seasoning again if necessary. Store in a container and keep in the fridge. Best to serve a day later.


28 comments:

  1. would you be back for CNY this year?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loves acar, but if you were to ask me to make myself, i not hardworking, and those selling outside, not all places sells nice acar...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Easier to buy and if the outside one is good, then worth it.

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  3. when i read you put ginger i thought wouldn't the taste of ginger take over the sweet sour salty taste of acar? to me the taste of ginger is always the main protagonist overpowering other food. any food with ginger will be ginger xxxxxx with ginger as the lead so i understand why you don't like the taste of ginger in your acar because the usual acar taste has been taken over by ginger taste. i like the taste of ginger in ginger dishes. hahaha guess i am a traditionalist and do not like experimental food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The ginger was quite subtle because I did not put much. But still the gingery hints did not quite suit the overall flavor of the acar, in my opinion.

      Delete
  4. Hi PH,
    Menarik yr Acar Rampai...tp mmg banyak keje kan nk buat ni...saya selalu buat acar mentah tu jer...mmg dasar pemalas la kan hahaaa..semua nk senang

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lina! PH pun biasanya buat acar mentah sebab senang dan cepat. Tapi yang ada rempah tu kira ada oomph sikit lah. Tapi kena tunggu time rajin. Kalau tidak, tak jadi lah tu...

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  5. Wow, PH! Now you dah travel to Dapur Tanpa Sempadan ^_^ I often go there too but just to save and print out the recipes ^_^ Buatnya very rare, I tell you!

    As you know, I ni 'carnivorous' bukannya 'omnivor' ~_^ So I memang tak makan sayur-sayur. Lagi hijau, lagi tak makan except for kentang coz I treat kentang as 'buah' not sayur ^_^

    This kind of pickles kalau kenduri kahwin kat kampung selalunya ada tau. Tapi I prefer pajeri nenas. You know how to do it? Blog itlah so that I can print out the recipe and keep in my file masak-masak ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, MD! Got no sempadan, so I just ceroboh aje lah :) It looks like we have the same hobby-saving and printing recipes. I have a whole stack in my study room. Most untested hah..hah..

      I love my greens and my kentang too. But I cannot eat too much kentang because it goes straight to my tummy and hips and thigh >.<

      OK, for you, I will try to cook pajeri nenas. I don't think I have eaten it before hah...hah...

      Delete
  6. I love to eat the Nyonya Acar too. They are so crunchy and appetizing to eat by itself. Can you make a lot in bottles and sell to the bloggers.

    I found the best Nyonya Acar that is selling inside the Wet Market along Old Klang Road. I have eaten that for many years and it is really the BEST!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm...it's a lot of work, so I won't even consider selling hah..hah...

      Delete
  7. I like acar but to make my own... Once in a blue moon only lah! hahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hah..hah...if you can find a good source, better to just buy.

      Delete
  8. Your acar is kind of special, with pounded dried prawns somemore.. A very nice appetizer, I would say... the normal ones in Ipoh have cabbage in them and I always request for more pounded peanuts... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Penang nonya acar got cabbage and long beans etc which I love. And yes, more peanuts, more kick!

      Delete
  9. My missus made also, so much ingredients...so much work...one Nescafe bottle only. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the effort...just for a bottle. I got two small bottles that didn't even last a week :(

      Delete
  10. Mmmmmm... harumnya sampai ke dapur saya!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Udang kering punya pasal lah tu hah..hah..

      Delete
  11. You ni mengalahkan orang Melayu tau PH. Bukan setakat tempoyak, acar pun you bedal ek hihi...

    I jarang buat acar. Normally acar ni makan dgn nasi minyak or nasi briyani or nasi tomato bagai tu. Tp kalau makan dgn nasi i rasa pun best jugaklah PH. Makan dengan ikan masin lagi .....memang pergh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hainom, jangan lah puji cam tu...kembang hidung PH hah..hah... Anyway, thank you lah, ek. Acar kalau dengan nasi minyak/tomato/briyani is very terangkat. Hmmm....nak masak nasi minyak plak.

      Delete
  12. Hi Phong Hong! I love acar but have never tried to make it at home because of preparation:D But your acar looks so good makes me change my mind :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ann! Yes, lots of work but you will feel it is worth it when you eat the delicious acar :)

      Delete
  13. Looking at your long list of ingredients and the tedious cutting work, I'll buy outside, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  14. hai PH! youre are so rajin :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MisDiarios! No lah, not all the time hah..hah...

      Delete

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