Nyonya Acar Recipe and Step-by-Step Guide (Chinese New Year)

Updated on January 8, 2020
Ingenira profile image

Ingenira has been working as an online writer for at least six years. Among dozens of other topics, she loves to write about baking.

Nyonya acar for Chinese New Year.
Nyonya acar for Chinese New Year.

Acar blends sweet, spicy, and sour flavors. The secret lies in the nyonya chilli paste, well-portioned vinegar, and a sugar mixture. Drying the vegetables under the sun is also vital because it provides that quintessential crunch.

Is it an easy recipe? After trying it, the answer is no. It is a lot of work, especially if you have high expectations. The recipe below is passed down to me by my mother-in-law, who lives in Malacca (a state in Malaysia) where nyonya food is abundant. If you are a big fan of nyonya acar and have the time to give it a try, follow the recipe below.

Step 1: Dry the Vegetables Under the Sun

Ingredients

  • 500 grams cucumber
  • 200 grams carrots
  • 200 grams cabbage
  • 100 grams long beans
  • 200 grams cauliflower
  • 100 grams brinjal

Instructions for Each Vegetable

Cucumbers

  1. Wash the cucumber. Cut the greener end of the cucumber and rub the parts together until you see white discharge. This will remove the bitter taste of the cucumber.
  2. With the cucumber skin on, cut it into 4-centimetre lengths. Cut open the cucumber and remove the seeds in the centre. Then, cut it into strips and place all the cucumber strips in a bowl.
  3. Rub the cucumber strips with 1 tablespoon of salt. Leave aside for an hour. This step will remove the water in the cucumber.
  4. Use a clean towel to wrap a small handful of cucumber strips and squeeze out the excess water as much as possible. Repeat this step until all the cucumber strips are squeezed.
  5. Spread the cucumber strips on a big tray and dry them under the sun for 2 to 3 hours. This step will make the cucumber crunchy.

Carrots

  1. Wash the carrots. Remove the carrot skin. Cut the carrots into thin 4-centimetre strips.
  2. Dry the carrot strips under the sun for 1 or 2 hours.

Cabbage

  1. Wash the cabbage and cut it into 2 1/2-centimetre squares.
  2. Dry the cabbage squares under the sun for 1 or 2 hours.

Long Beans

  1. Wash the long beans and cut into 4-centimetre lengths.
  2. Dry the long beans under the sun for 1 or 2 hours.

Cauliflower

  1. Wash the cauliflower and cut it into small pieces, almost the same size as the long beans.
  2. Dry the cauliflower under the sun for 1 or 2 hours.

Brinjal

  1. Wash the brinjal. With the skin on, cut it into 4-centimetre strips.
  2. Dry the brinjal under the sun for 1 or 2 hours.

Tips

  • Good sunshine (mid-noon) is necessary to dry the vegetables for the above-mentioned times. If there is insufficient sunshine, you can dry them under the fan for 4 to 8 hours. Drying the vegetables is important to produce crunchy vegetable acar.
  • Six types of vegetables are introduced here. You can reduce the number of vegetables types and increase the portion of the rest according to your preferences.

Step 2: Prepare the Add-on Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 red chillies
  • 3 green chillies
  • 3 shallots
  • 50 grams young ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic

Instructions

  1. Cut the red and green chillies into half, remove the seeds, and cut them into 4-centimetre strips.
  2. Peel the shallots, ginger and garlic skin, and cut them into very thin slices.

Step 3: Prepare the Nyonya Acar Chilli Paste

Ingredients

  • 10 fresh chillies
  • 5 dried chillies
  • 10 shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 centimetres fresh turmeric root
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 10 tablespoons of rock sugar (or normal sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the red and green chillies in half and remove the seeds. (Note if you double or triple the recipe: If you seldom handle chillies, wear a pair of gloves, as long hours in direct contact with the chillies will cause a burning sensation on your fingers.)
  2. Peel the shallots and the garlic's outer skin and cut them into slices.
  3. Peel the outer skin of turmeric root and cut it into slices.
  4. Slice the washed lemongrass finely.
  5. Grind all the cut ingredients above in an electric blender (with shallow knife) until you get a fine chilli paste.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok. Stir-fry the ground chilli paste above (with medium to high heat) until fragrant and the oil begins to separate from the paste.
  7. Add in sugar and salt.
  8. Set aside and let it cool down completely.

Tips

Using rock sugar will make the acar more tasty than the normal sugar. You can buy rock sugar from any Asian market or in any Chinese herbal shop.

Step 4: Scald the Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 400 millilitres vinegar
  • 600 millilitres water

Instructions

  1. In a big wok, pour in the water and vinegar and bring the mixture to rapid boil.
  2. Blanch the vegetables from Step 1, one type at a time. Start with cucumber and cabbage. Dip the cucumber and cabbage in the boiling water vinegar mixture for two to three seconds.
  3. Scald the rest of the vegetables (carrots, long beans, cauliflower, and brinjal), one type at a time for 8 to 10 seconds.
  4. Drain the scalded vegetables at once in a colander.
  5. Discard the water-vinegar mixture.

Step 5: Mix All the Prepared Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 100 millilitres vinegar
  • 10 tablespoons (about 100 grams) ground, roasted peanut (see preparation note below)
  • 4 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. With the fried and cooled chilli paste in a big wok, add in the ingredients prepared in Step 2.
  2. Then, add in the scalded vegetables in Step 4.
  3. Add in 100 millilitres vinegar.
  4. Stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  5. Taste the acar and add more sugar and/or vinegar as desired.
  6. Add in peanuts and sesame seeds and stir well. (You can also add these right before serving for crunchier peanuts and sesame seeds taste)
  7. Scoop up the acar to store in a porcelain jar or a clean, dry glass jar.
  8. Keep it in the fridge for at least 2 days before serving. (Acar can be kept in the fridge for months.)

How Do You Prepare the Ground, Roasted Peanuts?

  1. Spread raw, in-the-shell peanuts in single layer in a shallow pan. Bake at 325°F for about 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Shake the pan or stir frequently to allow even baking.
  2. Alternatively, you can stir-fry (without oil) the raw peanuts at low to medium heat until lightly browned.
  3. Remove the peanuts’ skin and grind them in an electric blender.

Nyonya acar.
Nyonya acar.

Questions & Answers

  • Can I store acar in the fridge?

    Yes, you can store acar in the fridge. You can keep it in the fridge for a few months.

  • What is nyonya acar?

    Nyonya acar is a type of preserved vegetable.

© 2012 Ingenira

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Open 

      6 years ago

      Never made or had this before, but lkioong at the photos, I am totally convinced to give it a try! Ha ha I think my sisters would envy me for this special family dish :-)Sawadee from bangkok,Kris

    • Ingenira profile imageAUTHOR

      Ingenira 

      6 years ago

      Thanks, dwachira.

    • dwachira profile image

      Danson Wachira 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Ingenira,

      I would like to try this Nyonya Acar Recipe, the instructions look fairly simple to follow. Voted up and useful.

    • Ingenira profile imageAUTHOR

      Ingenira 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Sally, it's a lot of work but well worth the effort.

    • profile image

      Sally 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for this detailed recipe. Sounds yummy and will give it a try.

    • Ingenira profile imageAUTHOR

      Ingenira 

      8 years ago

      thank you, telltale. Glad to see you again !

    • telltale profile image

      telltale 

      8 years ago

      Wow! Nice recipe... have made Acar before, perhaps not the Nonya type, but still, would like to try this out, once I get my new kitchen ready. Thanks for the recipe!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)