'Acar awak' are pickled vegetables which are mildly spiced, sourish and with a tinge of sweetness too. It serves as a condiment as well as an accompaniment to many local dishes due to its tantalizing flavours.
Acar awak is a pickled vegetables dish known best within the Nyonya or Peranakan community. Usually, it is prepared in large amount and stored in glass bottles for later consumption as these pickled vegetables taste better as they age. Usually enjoyed as a side dish or condiment along with rice, it stirs up the appetite. In Malaysia or Singapore, acar awak is sometimes served with ‘nasi lemak’.
Tips for crunchy acar awak
Vegetables in acar awak should be crunchy and not hard. Hence, hard vegetables such as carrots and cucumbers need to be coated with a bit of salt to make them tender. The seeds of the cucumber must be removed to avoid excess water in the dish. Besides that, the chilli paste used has to be thick and not watery.
As for the cauliflower and french beans, blanch to soften them and also to remove the raw taste. However, the vegetables should not be over-cooked. Immediately stop the cooking process by transferring the blanched vegetables into iced cold water.
The next step is to either dry them under the sun for two hours or leave them in the oven set at 50 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.
Flavours of acar awak
Acar awak has a combination of sour, sweet and spicy flavours. In short, this spicy vegetables relish is tangy. The level of spiciness highly depends on the chillies used and the way they are processed. Remove the membranes and seeds of the chillies to reduce the spiciness.
Other ingredients in acar awak
Pineapple or even brinjals may be added if that is your preference. The pineapple adds a fruity and tangy note to the dish. The pineapples and brinjals will also need to be dried in the oven or under the sun like the other vegetables.
What is the shelf life of acar awak?
Store acar awak in a clean and dry airtight glass container. It can be kept for up to one month if refrigerated.
The appetizing acar awak is ready to be served immediately after cooking. It is definitely a good accompaniment with plain rice. The warmth of the steaming white rice coupled with the coldness of the chilled acar makes every mouthful a delight.