Sunday, April 26, 2009
My Mother-in-Law's Nonya Acar Recipe
I must admit that I still find it difficult to replicate this Nonya Acar (pickle) dish that my late mother in law had perfected together with her other signature pickle dishes such as bokwa sui(papaya pickles) and Acar Hu (fish pickle).
For a start, we are still juggling with the “agak agak” (rough estimate) measurements she used in her cooking. To make matter worse,the weight measurements were given in kati and taels (old Chinese weight measure). Although we have been analytical on how to create the balance of flavours from the combination of the various spices to the drying process of the vegetables, we are still miles away from its original taste.
Nevertheless, we call upon you to try out this Acar dish with our “new” recipe in metric conversion and perhaps, share with us your own result when preparing this dish.
Nonya Acar Recipe.
1 kg cucumber
500g cabbage, cut into 3cm square
200g carrot cut into 3cm strips
500g snake beans (long beans/ chai tow) If unavailable use French beans
200g cauliflower, cut into small florets
250g pineapple, if unavailable use canned pineapple
75g dried red chillies / 3 tbsp chilli powder
30gm fresh turmeric / 1 tsp turmeric powder
10g galangal / 1 teaspoon galangal powder
40 gm lemon grass if unavailable use 1 tbsp of grated lemon outer skin
30 gm balachan (prawn paste)
50g coriander seeds / 3 tbsp coriander powder
½ cup peanut roasted and coarsely pounded
¼ cup sesame seeds, roasted
¾ cup sugar
4 tbsp salt
¼ cup vinegar
For scaling fruit and vegetables:
1 litre water
1 litre vinegar
¼ cup salt
¼ cup sugar
Prepare cucumber by removing core and cut into 3cm strips. Rub 2 tbsp salt into the cucumber strips and leave aside for 1 hour. Place marinated cucumber strips on a piece of muslin cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Spread the cucumber out on a try and sun for 2-3 hours.
Sun other vegetables separately in trays for 1-2 hours.
Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar to rapid boil. Blanch the sun dried vegetables separately.
2-3 seconds for cucumber and cabbage.
8-10 seconds for the other vegetables
Drain the blanched vegetables dry.
Heat oil in pan to fry spices till fragrant. Add ¾ cup sugar and 4 tbsp and leave to cool before adding ¼ cup vinegar. Combine all vegetables and mix well. Add sesame seeds and peanuts and leaves overnight to allow flavour to develop before serving. Keep refrigerated.