Yummy Homemade Nyonya Achar Awak With A Zing – Spicy Nyonya Pickled Vegetables

A small bowl of appetising, yummy Nyonya Achar to be savoured with some rice

Hello there, dear friends πŸ˜€

During hot and humid days, when appetites are poor and nothing seems to appeal to the taste buds, it is best to have something sour and spicy to get our appetites whetted. One of the best foods to have is the Nyonya Achar Awak or Nyonya Spicy Pickled Mixed Vegetables dish as its sourness, spicyness, sweetness, aroma and texture simply wake up the senses of our taste buds! πŸ˜†

Last week, I had made some Achar to go with Nasi Lemak and here is my recipe. Be warned that the Achar is really sour and spicy and you may need to tone things down if you prefer not to have so much “zing” in your Achar. πŸ˜‰

Nyonya Achar Awak With A Zing

Ingredients to be washed and cut into 1 X 0.25 inch sticks –

4 medium cucumbers – unpeeled, quartered lengthwise, cut away the seed portion

3 carrots – unpeeled

5 long beans

10 french beans

1 small Beijing cabbage – cut into 1.5 inch squares (I prefer Beijing cabbage because the leaves are thicker and have more crunch, you can use the usual cabbage)

Ingredients to be blended together with enough water –

30 dried chili – washed and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

10 chili padi or bird’s eye chili

5 fresh red chili

25 to 30 shallots, skin removed

6 to 8 cloves garlic, skin removed

10 candlenuts or buah keras

3 inch knob of fresh turmeric, skin removed, or 2 tbsp turmeric powder

2 inch knob of lengkuas or galangal or blue ginger

3 fat lemon grass or serai – use 1.5 inches of the bottom part only

3 tbsps toasted belacan or shrimp paste (**Tip – I usually buy 1 block of belacan and toast the whole thing in a non-stick pan until it becomes dry and grainy. Then I store the toasted belacan in a airtight bottle in the refrigerator, ready for use any time πŸ˜‰ )

Other ingredients –

3 cups of white rice vinegar (I prefer Pearl River brand from China)

Juice of 5 key limes or 3 lemons (achar is more aromatic with this)

Sugar and Salt to taste

2 to 3 cups peanuts – toasted, skin removed and crunched with a rolling pin for rougher texture (don’t blend) (later, I’ll post about a simple method to de-skin toasted peanuts in a jiffy πŸ˜‰ )

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

2 cups cooking or vegetable oil

Method –

1) Bring a pan containing about 1.5 litres of water, 1 cup vinegar, 2 tbsps salt and 2 sugar to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute the beans and cabbage, one type at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon, wipe away excess water with paper kitchen towels, and place in a baking tray. Dry under the fan or strong sunlight, about 1 hour or more.

2) Rub 3 tbsps of salt into the cucumber and carrot sticks in a large bowl. Set aside for about 2 hours. Rinse under tap water and wring vegetables dry with a clean tea towel.

3) Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients to be blended.

4) Fry the blended ingredients in oil in a large wok. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes for the spices to get aromatic, when it separates from the oil.


5) Add in 1 cup of vinegar, 2 tbsps salt and 2 tbsps sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off the fire immediately.

6) Add in the vegetables, starting with the carrots and beans and cabbage last. Mix thoroughly. Add in the lime or lemon juice.


7) Add in the toasted grounded panuts and sesame seeds. Don’t worry about the liquid coming out from the vegetables, the peanuts and sesame seeds will soak it up.




8 ) Mix achar thoroughly and adjust the taste to your preference by adding more vinegar, sugar and salt. I had used a total of 2 cups vinegar and an additional 5 tbsps of sugar in mine.

9) Place in a casserole or in clean bottles, and refrigerate. It tastes better overnight but if you were like me, impatient to taste it the same day, do wait for at least 2 hours or else, the beans will have no achar taste in them.

Bon Appetit! Let me know how your achar turns out if you do try this recipe, okay? πŸ˜€

With best wishes,

choesf πŸ˜€

Β How To Remove The Skins Of

Roasted Peanuts In aΒ Jiffy


33 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    leomi said,

    Hello! I wonder if I could omit the buah keras (candlenuts) for this recipe? Buah keras may not exist here in the UK. By the way, all of your home cooked food are absolutely gorgeous!!! Oh how I miss home!!! :0) Thanks for your reply in advance ;o)


  2. 2

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear leomi πŸ˜€

    Thank you for your lovely comments – I’m glad the recipes here remind you of home! πŸ˜‰

    Actually, most recipes for Achar do not have candlenuts/buah keras and you can omit them since we already have peanuts in the Achar for that nutty flavour.

    I still have a little Achar left in my fridge from this recipe and it has been 10 days now since I made this batch. I’d say it tastes even better with time.

    Happy Cooking!

    With peace and joy,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  3. 3

    rose pe-win said,

    such a nice and informative blog to read. Makes me proud to be a member of the homemakers group. Looking forward to more nice readsand trying out your recipes. The cottage pie I made with your recipe turned out yummy!


  4. 4

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear Rose πŸ˜€

    Thank you for your lovely comments – I am always happy to hear from a fellow homemaker! Do drop by when you are free and we can have a cup of virtual coffee or tea together. πŸ˜‰

    The Cottage Pie recipe is quite easy to do – my eldest daughter (she’s 21) is just learning how to cook from me and one of the first recipes I taught her was the Cottage Pie – easy and delicious.

    Have a wonderful week ahead!

    With peace and harmony,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  5. 5

    sweetrosie said,

    Dear choesf – just the recipe I need for one of my very favourite things, I love achar πŸ™‚ Now , I just have a few teeny questions…
    1) how long can I keep this in the fridge?
    2) do you think I could process it in jars in a water bath so I could keep it for a few months?

    I have been loving looking at all your posts – the laksa, those gorgeous little jellies ( I have to go looking for that “stuff” (sorry choesf..konnayaku something like that *blush*) and the pretty moulds and that beautiful pot of cooling tea with chestnuts and sugar cane.

    I may not be able to visit as often as I did but every visit is a rare treat. Thank you dear.

    love and a big hug xx πŸ™‚


  6. 6

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there, dear sweetrosie! πŸ˜€

    It is so wonderful to see you – I do miss you here and at your blog. Hey, I will send you some Konnyaky jelly crystals and some to Rose, too…you can use little cups as moulds.

    Frankly, I don’t know how long the achar can be kept and I had mine for 3 weeks already – still tasted as good and the vinegar is preventing it from going bad.

    You can try using the water bath method to keep the achar longer, seeing as it is so much work to prepare them…do let me know how it turns out, i.e. if the vegetebles got too cooked in the hot water? πŸ˜†

    Have a wonderful week and many weeks more!

    With love and many big hugs back,

    choesf πŸ˜€


  7. 7

    Jackie said,

    I am a first time visitor. Came across it while looking for achar recipe. Wow it looks as authentic as my grandma’s (our family is from Malacca) We are in Switzerland and may not get all the ingredients but will try to replicate as best we can. Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, achar can be kept for a long time in the fridge. Gran used to say no more than 6 weeks but I am living proof that it can be eaten after a year with no adverse side effects!


    • 8

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Jackie πŸ˜€

      Wow, you are from Switzerland? It must be cold there now with all those unexpected heavy snowfall in Europe yesterday. It is good to eat spicy food to warm up the stomach. πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for your lovely comments..they make me feel more confident with my Achar recipe. I think with the amount of vinegar in this recipe, the achar can be kept for a longer time … but then, like you said, you are living proof that the achar is still safe for consumption after one year – now, I know I can keep it much, much longer. Thank you for sharing your “experience”. πŸ˜‰

      Happy Cooking!

      choesf πŸ˜€


  8. 9

    Andrew said,

    Nice , i like it =] thanks for sharing =>


  9. 11

    Sandy said,

    Dear choesf,

    Am so proud of you and be one of the homemaker group… πŸ˜€

    I would say your archar recipe is a more authentic one…I like this version of the spice paste.

    I have made the spice paste y’day (omitting the chilli padi), will make a simple version using – cucumber, carrot, red onion and pineapple (less cooking ;p).

    I have been using organic apple cider vinegar and honey instead (healthier i think)… and also a quick and easy way is to use traditional peanuts candies (“fa sang tong”) – its a slab of peanuts and white seame seeds with malt sugar, just crack it with a pestle.

    Love ya blog and keep it up!
    Enjoy ya day ;D


    • 12

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Thank you for your compliments, dear Sandy 😳 πŸ˜€

      I’m glad you like this archar recipe … yes, organic apple cider (I like Bragg’s) and honey would make it more tastier. Good idea! πŸ’‘ I will be sure to use those as well as the “Fa sang tong” in my next achar. A few weeks back, I made Korean Kimchi for the first time…it was very easy to make and delicious…good for health, too! I will post my Kimchi recipe asap! πŸ˜†

      Happy Cooking!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  10. 13

    Sandy said,

    Dear choesf,

    Yes I used Bragg’s too…I will dilute it with water to soak my fresh fruits/veggies if they are not organic, hear say it helps to get rid of the harmful pesticide (dunno how true..but it just makes me feel better ;p).

    Yeah kimchi is said to be the healthier food on the planet ;D I have made mine based on this version, the youtube link for your reference – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fznTL6TzsqI

    I like it ‘cos it uses fresh pear & apple puree…others used sweet rice mixture.

    Best regards.


    • 14

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Good afternoon, dear Sandy πŸ˜€

      I also feel the same way as you do – I would wash my fruits and vegetables with some diluted homemade fruit enzyme (the cleaning one). πŸ˜†

      That’s the same video that I watched to get some ideas on how to make Kimchi and I also read some recipes from the Internet. I made 2 large Chinese Cabbage of Kimchi and it is almost finished now. Now, I am undecided as to whether I should make a batch of Achar or Kimchi. πŸ™„ πŸ˜†

      Do have a lovely weekend!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  11. 15

    waifoong said,

    dear chosef

    Your recipe looks good. I will definitely try during this CNY. Just wondering if I want to make maybe for 30 odd ppl (i have a big family) , do I have to double or triple the blended ingredients and do I have to also triple the vegetables too.


    • 16

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear waifoong πŸ˜€

      Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, this Achar recipe is really good if you like spiciness and sourness to your achar. My hubby said it is too sour for him…so you just adjust the vinegar and sugar to your preference. πŸ˜‰

      For 30 odd people, you have to at least double the blended ingredients and vegetables here. But if you think your achar will be a hit with your guests, then you will have to triple it. A tip to make your achar more fragrant…add in the juice of a lemon or two when the achar is done. Anyway, if made too much, the achar can be kept in clean bottles up to a month. πŸ˜‰

      Gong Xi Fa Cai!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  12. 17

    Salvi Verma said,

    Hi happyhomemaker88,

    I have been a new comer to your blog. I have been enjoyed the blog so much for the last week. It is quite interesting. I always thought that these authentic recipes are difficult to cook, but with your guide in the blog, it seems I would be able to cook some good meals for my family. My son loves Malaysian food. Thanks alot!

    I am quite happy to come across your blog accidentally.



    • 18

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear curioushomemaker πŸ˜€

      Thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you enjoy your visits here. My recipes are intended to be easy as I am leaving my blog as a legacy to my children (my daughters can’t cook :oops:) for them to refer to my family’s heritage recipes. πŸ˜€

      Do have a wonderful weekend!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  13. 19

    […] When Elysia came back from work we headed to the Petronas Towers for lunch at a chain restaurant that serves Malaysian food.Β  It was great.Β  I think there were six things on my plate and five of them had chili in them.Β  I need to learn how to make Malaysian achar. […]


  14. 20

    Nelly said,

    I tried your recipe as I’ve been craving for Achar for a while, and it was great!! Thank you so much for posting it. Even my fussy English hubby thought it was great! I didn’t tell him there was belacan in it at first until he gave me 9/10 mark :p


    • 21

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hello there and welcome, dear Nelly πŸ˜€

      I’m so glad that your Achar recipe turned out well and your English hubby liked it! πŸ˜€

      Heheh, I like to tell my Caucasian friends that Achar is Chinese or Nyonya Sour Spicy Pickled Mixed Vegetables. Now my mouth is watering thinking back about this achar and I am in the mood to make some this weekend! πŸ˜†

      Thank you so much for sharing your feedback here. πŸ˜‰

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  15. 22

    Shu Han said,

    I stumbed upon your recipe for achar and it’s been a great help for me for maing my own achar! had to substitute alot of ingredients because they aren’t easy to find in london, but i’m pretty happy with the results! thank you so much!



    • 23

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Shu Han πŸ˜€

      Thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you are happy with this recipe. Wow, you have a really good pictorial recipe of the achar at your blog! **2 thumbs up**

      Happy Cooking!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  16. 24

    […] document.write(''); There's very good achar in the Malaysia / Singapore region. Most of the time served with the coconut rice (nasi lemak). It is amazingly appetizing. A blend of sweet, sour and spiciness. found this recipe online archar […]


  17. 25

    Lakhvir K said,

    Thank you for the achar recipe… I have always wanted to make it since away from Singapore for over 20 years! Just got a quick question, could I subtitute the blachan with something else, as my girls are vegetarian? Or omitting it altogether, will it make a difference in taste? Thank you and greetings from Victoria, B.C., Canada!


    • 26

      Hi there, dear Lakhvir K πŸ˜€

      Wow, you are from Victoria, B.C., Canada? My husband and I lived in Vancouver, B.C. Canada for 2 years in the 80’s before moving to the States. πŸ˜€

      Yes, the belachan can be omitted if the dish is made vegetarian – probably, you can put more of the other aromatics, like lemon grass, or galangal…perhaps, you can even put in some lemon zest. πŸ’‘

      Hope you like this recipe! πŸ˜‰

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  18. 27

    Then C said,

    Thank you very much for this recipe. It did not work out for me at the first try but I learned from that and came up with something that I liked. In my first try, the rempah turned out very bitter. What I did was reduce the tumeric to 2 very small knobs (add 1-2 tspn tumeric powder) and reduce the galangal to about a 1/4 inch slice, increase the lemon grass to 5 stalks (med) add lots of lime and lemon juice, salt and sugar to taste. I like everything else in the recipe especially the preparation instructions. Please keep up the good work so we may enjoy Malaysian food anywhere in the world.


    • 28

      Hi there, dear Then C πŸ˜€

      Thank you very much for your feedback on modifying this recipe and for your very encouraging words to support my blog! πŸ˜€

      I am very happy to see that many readers from overseas can still cook and enjoy their Malaysian food **2 thumbs up**

      Do have a wonderful day!

      With best wishes,

      choesf πŸ˜€


  19. 29

    Jessica said,

    Thank you for the recipe. I added 2 tbsp of sugar and salt but my achars turned out kind of salty. Anyway I added more sugar and Assam juice. Today I tried them and still find them not salty enough .. Can I add in vinegar into those achars that are already in yr bottle? Please advice.. Thank u in advance


  20. 30

    Sito Taker Singh said,

    Hello, I came across your site by chance because I was looking for recipe for achar. Now I will make sure to follow your site regularly for new recipes.


  21. 32

    […] think you're talking about achar. Mmmm! https://happyhomemaker88.com/2008/09/…ed-vegetables/ __________________ Do small things with great love. – Mother […]


  22. 33

    […] This is a small batch achar because it’s my first time making it. I looked at this, this, and this for reference. The achar turned out really good, but my aunt’s achar still wins. Maybe when I […]


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