Atchara Recipe – There are a variety of ingredients you can pickle and enjoy as a side dish, even fruits like mango. Another fruit you can try as a pickled dish is papaya. You can do this by making Atchara. Atchara is a Filipino pickled dish crafted from grated unripe papaya. It is a popular accompaniment to fried or grilled dishes like pork barbecue. The name “atchara” has its roots in the Indian “achar” and was introduced to the Philippines through Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei as “acar.”
The key ingredient is the grated unripe papaya. The papaya is complemented by carrot slices, julienned ginger, bell pepper, onion, and garlic, while raisins, pineapple chunks, chilis, black pepper, red pepper flakes, or peppercorns can be added for flavor. These ingredients are immersed in a mixture of vinegar, sugar/syrup, and salt for preservation. Atchara can be stored without refrigeration in airtight jars, but it’s best enjoyed chilled once opened to preserve its delectable taste.
Atchara (Pickled Papaya)
- 3 to 4 lbs. green papaya julienned
- 2 medium-sized carrots julienned
- 1 large onion thinly sliced lengthwise
- 10 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1 large red bell pepper cut into strips
- 1 knob of ginger cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup salt for dehydrating papaya
- 1 1/2 tsp salt for the brine or syrup
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 small boxes of raisins
- Start by placing the julienned papaya in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of salt over it and mix well to ensure the salt is evenly distributed. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight; this will help dehydrate the papaya.
- The next day, rinse the julienned papaya in a colander or strainer under running water. To remove excess liquid, use cheesecloth or any cloth to wrap the papaya and squeeze it gently.
- Return the papaya to the large bowl and add in the carrots, garlic, ginger, onions, whole peppercorns, bell pepper, and raisins.
- In a saucepan, heat the vinegar until it starts to boil. Stir in the sugar and 1 1/2 tsp of salt until the mixture is well-dissolved.
- Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool down until it’s safe to handle.
- Now, place the combined vegetables and spices in a sterilized airtight jar. Pour the cooled syrup over them.
- Seal the jar tightly and refrigerate it for at least a week (or a minimum of 5 days) to achieve the desired texture and flavor.
- When you’re ready to enjoy, serve your homemade atchara cold alongside your favorite fried dishes. Share and savor the flavors!
Additional Notes on an Atchara Recipe
There are several tips to getting the best results for an atchara recipe. It’s essential to use rock salt or Kosher salt instead of iodized salt to prevent cloudiness in the pickle juice. For those seeking a spicy kick, consider adding jalapenos or chili flakes to the mix. If you’re not cooking the papaya and other ingredients, allow the jarred Atchara to mature in the fridge for a few days to fully develop its flavors.
When filling your sanitized jars, aim to fill them to the brim to eliminate air pockets that could promote the growth of unwanted bacteria during the maturation process. Lastly, when cooking or storing food with vinegar, opt for nonreactive pots and containers like stainless steel, glass, and enameled cast iron, avoiding pure aluminum and uncoated iron, which can react with vinegar and affect the taste.
Atchara typically has a shelf life of one to two months when stored in the refrigerator. It undergoes a quick fermentation process that lasts for 24-48 hours, making it a type of pickles. This speedy fermentation is similar to Korean pickled daikon radishes, which also require an overnight brining process for their preparation.
If you want to try another fruit in a savory dish, you can try buko pancit. You can also try another tangy and flavorful dish like sinigang or a sweet and fruity dish like buko pandan. Otherwise you can try another dish like our Garlic Butter Steak Bites.