Acar Campur – Indonesian Pickles
This acar campur originates from a fantastic chapter called pickled dishes (acar) in Beb Vuyk’s Indonesian cookbook. This acar is 100% vegan.
Indonesian food needs a sour condiment and this acar suits well. I learn a lot from Beb’s book. I discover that an acar can be eaten as a warm dish as well and that there are acars that need to be eaten straight away or can be kept for a long time.
Today I am going to work with recipe number 418 from Beb’s book: ‘Mixed Acid I’, it’s called. I am currently making a vegan catering for 40 people and this acar campur fits perfectly. I like the green beans in this recipe. That gives the acar a bite.
In the photos, you see ridiculously large quantities, but if you stick to the amounts in this recipe this acar is definitely enough for 5 people. This acar takes 40 minutes to make.
Mixed acid I (Acar campur) translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 339.
- 100 grams of white cabbage
- 100 grams of bean sprouts
- 100 grams of green beans
- 100 grams of carrots
- 1/2 cucumber (deseeded and cut into pieces)
- 4 green chili peppers
- 8 tablespoons of vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of chopped onions
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 red chili pepper (deseeded and cut into strips)
- 4 roasted kemiries (candle nuts)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 2 teaspoons of kunjit (turmeric)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 stalk of lemongrass
- Wash the vegetables, deseed the chili pepper and cut all vegetables (cabbage, carrots, beans) into small pieces.
- Rinse the bean sprouts under the tap and cut the chili peppers lengthwise.
- Boil all vegetables, except the bean sprouts, briefly in water and some salt.
- Drain them.
- Rub onions, garlic, candlenuts, ginger powder, kunjit, and some salt together into a paste.
- Add the vinegar and sugar and bring all to the boil.
- Add the pre-cooked vegetables (beans, carrots, green chili peppers, and cucumber) and the last the cabbage and the bean sprouts and the strips of red chili peppers.
- Let this boil for 1 minute.
I use a nice vinegar, such as a delicious wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. It is tender and somewhat sweet. That fits perfectly with this sweet and sour acar.
Red and green chili peppers
In Beb’s recipe, she is a bit unclear about the green and red chili peppers. The green ones need to be cut lengthwise once and you keep the seeds. The red one needs to be cut in strips and needs to be deseeded. I do not want to make my acar to spicy so I only use 3 red chili peppers, which I deseed and cut into strips.
Kemiries are nuts and are called in English: candle nuts. Kemiries ensure that sauces thicken and sambals turn mild due to the fat in the nuts. If you use them raw you have to roast them otherwise they are slightly toxic. But this acar needs to cooked so the kemiries can straight in to the bumbu (herb and spice mix).
This time I use my emersion blender to make the bumbu because it becomes nice and smooth and will mix well into the sauce.
The bumbu can be scooped in the pan with the vinegar and sugar. I bring this to the boil. Now the cooked vegetables can be added. The house smells strongly of tasty spicy vinegar.
I precook my veggies not to long. I want to keep them nice and crisp.
Because the mix has to be cooked for a short time (1 minute) in the vinegar broth everything is hot when it is done. So I can pour it directly into a pot.
I provide a super clean jar that is still hot (because I’ve just cooked it in water, to make sure all the bugs are dead). In it, I pour the acar and close the lid immediately. Now the pot is vacuuming and we can enjoy the acar some time in the future (2 months easily). I will keep some aside for tonight’s dinner. The acid only gets better over time, the longer you leave it in the pot.