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Acar Awak {Spicy Pickled Vegetables}

These crunchy vegetable pickles are bursting with sweet, spicy, and sour flavours. Acar Awak in Malaysia is usually eaten as an appetizer. The flavour of these improves with time, so it's best to serve it a couple of hours later.

Acar Awak {Spicy Pickled Vegetables}


2 English Cucumbers, seeded & cut into 2 inches baton
3 Carrots, peeled & cut into 2 inches baton
12 Long Beans, cut into 2 inches lengths
½ Medium Size Cabbage, cut or break into 1 ½ to 2 inches pieces
2 Red Chilies, seeded & halved
120 grams Chopped Roasted Peanuts
3 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
4 Tbsp Sugar
½ Cup Rice Vinegar
1 Cup Water
Sea Salt, to taste
6 Tbsp Peanut Oil

Sambal Paste
25 Dried Chilies, cut into small segments, soaked with boiling water & drain well
10 (About 160 grams) Shallots, peeled & chopped
2 Stalks Lemongrass, sliced
¾ inches piece of Turmeric, chopped
¾ inches piece of Galangal, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled & chopped
4 Candlenuts
1 Tsp Roasted Shrimp Paste


Sprinkle 1 to 2 tsp of sea salt on cucumbers, carrots, long beans, cabbage, and leave it for about 20 minutes. Then squeeze out as much water from all the vegetables with paper towels and clean kitchen towel. Spread the vegetables on a plate or baking tray and dry for at least 2 hours.

Make the sambal: Process all the ingredients until smooth. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Fry the sambal until it is aromatic, and the oil starts to separate, and remember to stir continuously. Add in the sugar, water, vinegar and season with sea salt. Stir until the sambal sauce thickens.

Mix in all the vegetables and red chilies. Stir well, add sesame seeds and chopped peanuts and mix until well combined. Set aside to cool and store in an airtight container.

*For vegetarian option: omit the roasted shrimp paste/belacan.

Makes 6 Cups of Acar Awak


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