414 Pickled cucumber (Acar ketimun)

414-zuur-van-komkommers-III love to make pickled vegetables. It’s easy and stays fresh for a long time (a week in the fridge at least). An acar goes well with Indo-food. So I serve some regularly next to a meat or fish dish. The cucumbers in this Acar Ketimun have to get rid of their fluids by draining them with salt. I’ve never done that before. The cucumbers have to be dry I think because they will absorb the herbs and vinegar mix better. Sounds good. Let’s get started.

This acar takes a total of three hours to make, but that is mainly due to the two hours the cucumber needs to drain. This recipe is enough for 5 people.

Pickled cucumbers (Acar ketimun) from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page


Two green cucumbers
1 tablespoon of oil
3 dl (300 ml) of vinegar


5 tablespoons of chopped onions
3 chopped garlic cloves
4 deseeded lomboks
4 roasted kemiries (candle nuts)
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of kunjit (turmeric)
2 teaspoons of ginger powder

Wash the cucumbers very clean. Deseed them and cut the unpeeled cucumber in half lengthwise. Cut each half into large pieces of about 2 cm. Sprinkle with salt and leave them to drain in a sieve for several hours.

Rub the onions, garlic, candle nuts with the sugar, turmeric and ginger to a paste. Sauté in the oil. Then add the vinegar. Cut the chilies into strips and add to the mix. Cook this through well for a while. 

Dry the pieces of cucumber with a clean dish cloth. Arrange them in jars and cover with the cooled down herbal vinegar mix.


The intention is to make an herbal vinegar to infuse the cucumber with. The wet part (seeds) must be removed.


I use a teaspoon. That fits perfectly in the middle. Deseeding is easy ;-).  Now I can cut them into pieces of about 2 centimeters. The skin can stay on.

414-zuur-van-komkommers-zoutNow the cucumber pieces go into a sieve and I sprinkle them with one teaspoon of salt. Mix it together and then leave it to drain for a few hours.

414-zuur-van-komkommers-naAfter two hours the cucumbers lost quite some moisture. 

414-zuur-van-komkommers-droogI dry them off with a clean dish cloth. I leave them wrapped in the towel, while I make my bumbu.


I rub the onions, garlic, candlenuts with the sugar, turmeric and ginger to a paste. I use ginger paste this time, not ginger powder as Beb suggests. It has more flavor to it and is wet. I think it works well in this pickled vegetable mix. I also use kemiri paste (candle nuts paste). I do not roast candle nuts because it is quite a lot of work and the kemiri paste works great too.

414-zuur-van-komkommers-boemboeI rub the ingredients really well together. Now the bumbu is beautifully yellow because of the kunjit (turmeric).


The four peppers must be deseeded and cut into long strips.


Time to fry the paste. I use my old wadjan, but an ordinary wok also works of course. Sauté until the onions are yellow.

414-zuur-van-komkommers-azijnThen add the 3 deciliters of vinegar. I use a simple herbal vinegar, but you can use any kind.

414-zuur-van-komkommers-pepersThe peppers can go in now and I have to cook it through for about a minute or two. I put the lid on and let my herb vinegar cool for about an hour.

414-zuur-van-komkommers-sausI place my cucumber in a big jar and pour the vinegar into it. I have enough for this jar and another jam jar too. That’s great because this acar works as a tasty gift for friends when we visit for dinner next week ;-).

Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.

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