How To Make Atchara From Any Veggie

The process is all the same.

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Atchara is a common side dish for many grilled and fried food. The sweet, tangy flavor is a delicious contrast to these dishes. If you love atchara and anything pickled in this way, you should learn that many vegetables and even fruits can be pickled, too. It's easy to do at home if you have the patience. 

That's because the main ingredient for any kind of pickle is really time. Pickle recipes are best when given time to sit and basically "pickle" in the brine you've created. The good news is that with atchara, the papaya is commonly grated, so the time is much shorter than if the vegetables were cut into larger, thicker shapes. Taste it on the first day, compare its taste a few days later, and you'll taste the difference.  

Here's how to make any vegetable into an atchara that you'll want to serve with every grilled and fried dish from now on:  

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1 Prepare the vegetables. 

For the atchara, the green or unripe papaya is commonly grated finely. You can do the same with another vegetable if desired if it can be grated such as carrots, singkamas, or even a green mango. This is also about aesthetics. If you want nice slivers of the pickled vegetables, such as you might want if you used a carrot, then slice the carrot into sticks. You can also try cutting up a daikon radish or cucumber into cubes, which you might want if you're making radish or cucumber kimchi. You can separate the florets of a cauliflower and broccoli or slice apples into thin slices to help it absorb the brine better. 

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Just a note: always choose vegetables that are firm without any blemishes. Blemishes such as a bruise, a hole from an insect, or mold will compromise your atchara. These can breed bacteria and other organisms that could possibly lead to food poisoning later on. 

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2 Prepare the other flavorings. 

You might want your atchara to have other flavors too apart from the brine. These include peppercorns, chilis, carrots, bell peppers, garlic, onions, herbs, spices, and other aromatics to make it taste better. While these pieces will be tasty additions, they too will be pickled along with the main ingredient and will be super delicious eaten, as well. 

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3 Make the brine. 

The brine for most pickles is made with vinegar. This is because the acidic nature of vinegar prohibits the growth of bacteria as the vegetables are being preserved over time. To make a safe vinegar solution for pickles, you will need to use this ratio: 1 part vinegar per 1 part vegetable 

Use a kitchen weighing scale for accuracy if needed. 

To make the brine, simply dissolve and combine your ingredients in a pot, and bring to a boil then simmer. Let simmer at least 5 minutes or until the ingredients that can dissolve have and the ingredients are aromatic. Set aside to cool completely. 

4 Sanitize the jars. 

If you're storing your atchara in jars, you'll want to sanitize the jars so it's bacteria-free before using. This will ensure that your atchara is safe to store. Here's how to do it: 

  1. 1 Place cleaned jars and their lids in a pot. Fill with water until jars are completely covered. 
  2. 2 Place over high heat and bring water to a boil.
  3. 3 Lower heat to a simmer then simmer for at least 10 minutes. 
  4. 4 Drain the water from the pot and the jars and fill immediately with pickle ingredients. 
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Are you scared of boiling jars? Another way of doing this is in the oven. Clean the jars as normal then place in a 280 degree F or 140 degree C preheated oven. (Lids with rubber lining should be sanitized using the boiling water method.) You'll want to fill the jars while these are still hot for the best results so the jars are kept sanitized and sterile. 

5 Store atchara. 

Combine the cooled brine and vegetables in the jars. Fill them up as full as possible then close the lid tightly. The hot jars will ensure that the air trapped inside the jar will be sanitized as well. Cool completely before storing in the refrigerator for best results. 

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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