How to Make Malay Vegetable Pickle (Acar)

Updated on November 25, 2019
lizmalay profile image

I grew up in Malaysia, where I enjoyed cooking and eating local dishes every day.

This fresh vegetable pickle is delicious. It's sweet, tangy, and sour at the same time.
This fresh vegetable pickle is delicious. It's sweet, tangy, and sour at the same time.

What Is Acar?

Acar is one of many classic Malay dishes that is commonly served during a wedding ceremony or a traditional feast. I remember when I was a kid, my mother took me to a wedding, and one of the many dishes that was served there was this one. Acar is a vegetable pickle that consists of freshly sliced vegetables and fruits that are prepared in a mixture of vinegar and sugar. The most common vegetable and fruit used in this dish is cucumber and pineapple, but it can also be prepared using other ingredients, according to taste.

Common Southeastern Asia Dish

Acar is a common dish in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Singapore. It also has a slight similarity with a Thai dish called green papaya salad due to the sweet, tangy, and sour flavors.

This dish is usually prepared fresh and served immediately with other main dishes. I love the combination of fresh vegetables and fruits. If you prefer a little bit of spice, like me, you are welcome to add a bird's eye chili to it, as well.

Simple Ingredients

The best part of acar is that it calls for very simple ingredients that you can easily find at the store. Malay acar is usually made from thinly sliced cucumber, shallot, pineapple, and red chili, which is then marinated in a sweet and sour solution of sugar and vinegar.

It is used as a condiment to accompany main dishes such as ayam masak merah and nasi minyak. You can store leftover acar in a well-sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week, and then you can serve it as a condiment for any meal.

By the way, this is one of the easiest recipes I have made. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pineapple, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mango, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 bird's eye chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, mango, and cucumber. Use a spoon to mix until well combined.
  2. Add the chopped shallots and bird's eyes chilies into the mixture.
  3. Add the apple cider vinegar and sugar into the mixture. Use the spoon to mix until well combined. At this point, you can customize the acar to your preferences.
  4. Lastly, add the chopped cilantro.
  5. Place the acar into a serving dish and serve immediately.

Photo Tutorial

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Thinly sliced cucumber, pineapple, and mango. Chopped shallots. Thinly sliced bird's eye chilies. Add more if you like it spicy. Combine the ingredients into a medium bowl. Add apple cider vinegar. Add sugar. Mix all ingredients until well combined. Add some chopped cilantro into the mixture. Place the acar into a serving dish and serve immediately.
Thinly sliced cucumber, pineapple, and mango.
Thinly sliced cucumber, pineapple, and mango.
Chopped shallots.
Chopped shallots.
Thinly sliced bird's eye chilies. Add more if you like it spicy.
Thinly sliced bird's eye chilies. Add more if you like it spicy.
Combine the ingredients into a medium bowl.
Combine the ingredients into a medium bowl.
Add apple cider vinegar.
Add apple cider vinegar.
Add sugar.
Add sugar.
Mix all ingredients until well combined.
Mix all ingredients until well combined.
Add some chopped cilantro into the mixture.
Add some chopped cilantro into the mixture.
Place the acar into a serving dish and serve immediately.
Place the acar into a serving dish and serve immediately.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Liza

    Comments

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      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        5 days ago from USA

        Thank you, Liz. Indeed, acar is a simple dish to prepare but, it has a perfect taste from the fruit and vegetable combination :)

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 days ago from UK

        This looks like a colourful and tasty dish. It also looks relatively easy to prepare.

      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        11 days ago from USA

        It was the first time I made it here following my moves to the US :) I miss the flavor of this fresh traditional Malay salad. Perhaps, I should make as a side dish for Thanksgiving. Thank you for your nice comment, Linda.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        11 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This sounds like another tasty creation, Liza. I like the idea of combining sweet and sour flavors in one dish.

      • Luis G Asuncion profile image

        Luis G Asuncion 

        12 days ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

        Your always welcome, Liza.

      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        12 days ago from USA

        Hi Luis, thanks for your comment. I reckon the same thing:)

      • Luis G Asuncion profile image

        Luis G Asuncion 

        12 days ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

        This is a great recipe for people who needs diet. Thanks for sharing it.

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