Sunday, October 14, 2012


Acar awak is a classic Nyonya or Peranakan accompaniment that is commonly found on the Nyonya dinner table. Nyonya acar, in particular, is very elaborate - much more so than their Malay counterpart. The Penang Acar-awak showcases the degree of extra attention and refinement that has become the hall mark of the Nyonya kitchen. 

 The acar will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator if the ground peanut has not been mixed in. It is best served overnight to allow the flavors to develop. If you like drier acar, is best to drain in a colander for at least a few hours because the sour vegetables could released  a lot of water. 


500 g cucumber, seeded and cut into 3cm long strips
300 g cabbage, cut into 3cm thick
100 g carrots, cut into 3cm long strips
100 g french beans, cut into 3cm length
100 g long beans, cut into 3cm length
100 g pineapple, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup cooking oil

100 g peanuts, roasted and pounded
4 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

For Scalding Vegetables
600 ml water
400 ml vinegar
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Spice Paste (Ground)
50 g dried chilies
100 g shallots
40 g garlic
15 g fresh tumeric
5 g galangal
10 g candlenuts
20 g belachan, toasted
20 g lemongrass
20 g coriander seeds

9 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp salt
2 tbsp vinegar


1. Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar for scalding vegetables to a rapid boil. Blanch the vegetables, one type at a time: 2-3 seconds for the cabbage and 8-10 seconds for the rest of the vegetables. Drain vegetables in a coriander.

2. Heat the oil in a wok to fry the spice paste until fragrant in low heat. Season with 9 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp salt. Bring it to a boil and leave to cool completely before stirring in 2 tbsp vinegar.

3. Add in all the vegetables and stir to mix well. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of the ground peanuts and toasted sesame seeds.

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