Acar – Spicy Malaysian Pickled Vegetables

Acar – Spicy Malaysian Pickled Vegetables

Prep / Cook / Total        20 / 15 / 35min


  • 5 green beans – cut in halves
  • 3 small carrots, julienned
  • 5 cucumbers, deseeded and julienned
  • ⅓ small cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
Spice Paste


  • 10 shallots (short variety)
  • 1½” ginger root
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only
  • 4 chillies (deseed half for mildly spicy pickle)
  • 6 candle nuts or macadamia nuts
  • ½ tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 2-3 tbs white vinegar
  • 7-8 tbs brown sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • ¾ – 1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly ground
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds


1. In a bowl, add the beans, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, salt and sugar. Toss to combine well. Let sit for 1 hour. This is to extract moisture out from the vegetables and keep them crunchy. Rinse the vegetables and drain.

2. Use a paper towel to dab dry them as much as you can. Spread them on a wire rack set on a baking tray and place the tray in the oven at the lowest setting and ‘dry them’ further for 10-15 minutes; stir occasionally.

3. Blend the ingredients for the spice paste. Over medium low heat, fry the paste for 10 minutes until fragrant. If the paste becomes too dry, add oil or water 1 tbs at a time. Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Add the peanuts (more or less depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce to be). Taste and adjust seasoning until you reach your preferred balance of sour, sweet, savory and spicy.

4. Add the vegetables to the sauce and sprinkle the sesame seeds. Mix and let cool. Store in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator. Best to enjoy after 3 days when the flavours have developed more.

As sides, they go perfectly with coconut rice dishes or any Asian meal really. This can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.

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