Saturday, July 2, 2011

Atchara (Pickled Green Papaya)

Growing up, my lola used to make a lot of pickled items such as pickled mangos and pickled green papaya relish (atchara). She would bottle them and it would remain in the fridge for months and months. They're often an accompaniment to fried dishes with rice. However, I was never a huge fan of the pickled mangos or atchara. I was a kid and didn't like the sour-ness of them. Then a few months ago, hubby and I went to a food truck fest and ate off of a Filipino food truck. They had the standard rice and tocino. But their plates had a side of atchara with it. I don't think I remember my grandparents or my parents eat their tocino with atchara before. Then flashbacks of me not liking atchara when I was kid ran through my mind. But hey, I'm older now and have a more sophisticated palette. So I gave it a shot and ate it together with my rice and tocino. What did I miss all these years??? The sour-ness balances the flavors of the meat and rice perfectly. Hubby took a taste of it and asked if I could make atchara. And it gave me an idea. So I did a search and found this recipe from Panlasang Pinoy.

One of the reasons why I started this blog was for my daughter to have a record of her culture in food. With all the desserts and other non-Filipino dishes I make on this blog, sometimes I lose that vision. So this atchara dish somehow takes us back to that. And when I tasted my final product, it somehow took me back to my days with my lola.

3-4 lbs. green papaya, juliennned
2 medium sized carrots, julienned
1 large onion, sliced thin
10 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. peppercorn
1 inch fresh ginger, julienned
1/4 cup, plus 1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white vinegar
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 small boxes raisin (optional)

1) In a large bowl, combine green papaya and 1/4 cup salt. Mix until salt is well distributed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2) After papaya has been treated, place in a colander and thoroughly rinse under running water. Wrap rinsed papaya with a cheesecloth or clean cloth towel. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the papaya.

3) Return papaya in the large bowl. Add carrots, garlic, ginger, onions, peppercorns, and raisins (if using). Mix until evenly distributed. Place in a large, clean mason jar (or evenly distribute among several smaller mason jars). Set aside.

4) In a medium saucepan, add vinegar and cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in sugar and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt until well diluted. Remove from heat and cool completely.

5) Pour vinegar mixture in the prepared mason jars until the vegetables are completely submerged. Seal jar and refrigerate for 5 days to 1 week. Serve with fried dishes as desired.

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