Sunday, April 21, 2024

Portuguese Vegetable Pickle/Achar: A Flavorful Delight from Tradition

In 2020, I whipped up this Portuguese vegetable pickle, or achar, as some may call it. This isn't my first rodeo with it - I've made it a couple of times before. You might be wondering why I'm only sharing it now. Well, the idea struck me as I was browsing through our YouTube channel. I thought, "Why not feature it as part of our Zen Cuisine?" Plus, not everyone prefers video recipes; some prefer the written words. 

Named as vegetable pickle, I've experimented with various veggies like carrots, cabbage, long beans, fresh beans, and even ginger. But after a couple of tries, I've settled on just green chilies, shallots, and garlic because these are what we tend to prefer, not the vegetables. That's what you'll find in the final product.

Now, why call it Portuguese Vegetable Pickle? Well, a Portuguese/Eurasian friend shared the recipe with me. And let me tell you, it's as authentic as it gets. The cooking technique is simple, but it does take some time. Washing, slicing, and drying the veggies in the sun can be a bit time-consuming, but under our scorching Malaysian sun, drying will take perhaps 2 or 3 hours at most. But it's worth it because these pickles can last for at least six months when stored properly.


Beyond accompanying rice meals, why not experiment? These pickles can elevate your burger game! The beauty of this Portuguese vegetable pickle lies in its versatility. Make it in bulk, portion it out, store it in the fridge, and you'll bid farewell to store-bought pickles forever. Oh, and don't forget to taste the vinaigrette - it's the heart of the recipe. Adjust until you achieve the perfect blend of tanginess, sweetness, and saltiness.


For the vegetables

Ingredients (as needed)

Green chilies - wash, sliced into 2 or 3 pieces

Shallots - remove skin and if you are using the bigger ones, sliced into 2

Garlic - remove skin and wash




Pat them dry and mix in the salt.

Dry them in the sun until completely dried out.

For the vinaigrette (estimates)


1 handful Ginger (remove skin, wash and slice)
1/4 to 1/2 cups Sugar (I used palm sugar, you can use white sugar)

1 1/2 cups Vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

1 tbsp full Turmeric powder

2 tbsp full crushed black mustard seeds (blow away the skin)





In a pan, heat oil and sauté ginger.

Add vinegar, sugar, turmeric powder, and salt.
Let it simmer.

Turn off the heat and add the dried vegetables.

Mix well and let it sit for at least 1 hour.

Portion out the pickle into separate containers and store them in the fridge.


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