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How to make Addictive Maanghang Atchara (spicy pickled green papaya)

Submitted by on September 8, 2012 – 11:28 am50 Comments

Atchara is one of the few things I take for granted. When relatives come down to visit from the Philippines, they would come back with a huge jar of this good stuff. I don’t know what they put in it, but I swear it has crack. I get all anxious and worried when I start to run out especially when I know there’s a BBQ coming up. I start sweatin’ the sheets and rocking up at my mum’s house rummaging her fridge looking for her share.   You see, it goes so well with charred meat, fish and deep fried goodies like Lechon Kawali (deep fried pork). It helps to cut through the fat  (not that there’s anything wrong with fat) and elevates the meal to a whole new level. No need to marinade the meat when you have Atchara on hand. It’s the Filipino Kim Chi – never leave home without it! It’s way popular back home. People go cray cray over it adding to anything and everything. It’s like dayem boy, you can’t add that to ice cream! Sheeeaaat.

atchara recipe

Atchara is usually, depending on who’s making it, made up of  green papaya and carrots (julienned), onions, garlic, bell peppers, red capsicum, chilli, salt and ginger which is then soaked in pre-boiled vinegar combined with sugar and refrigerated in an airtight container for at least a week before consuming. Though, it doesn’t stop people opening it after a day claiming  that “It’s ready!” Sit down. Some even add pineapple which is also a welcomed addition but I steer clear to ensure the green papaya remains to be the star of the Sweet and Sour show.

I also like to add a few slices of chilli to my batch to give it some fiyaaah! It’s strange how your tastes change as your get older. Up until six years ago,  anything with chilli it in had me running for the hills. I didn’t grow up eating much spicy food but these days, I add chilli jam, chilli oil, chilli flakes, chilli blah blah to everything! Temperature is rising, can you feel the heat?! Woo. *fans himself*

atchara filipino recipe in jar

Zee Ingredients

(makes 2 jars yo)

5 cups of julienned green papaya (approx 2 green papayas)

2 carrots julienned

1 red capsicum (sliced)

1 onion (sliced)

1 ginger (sliced)

1/4 sea salt (prework: to dry out the green papaya. use sea salt as table salt will cloud it up)

2 tablespoons of salt

2 teaspoons of black pepper

6 cloves of garlic (sliced)

4 cups white vinegar

3 cups sugar (+1 cup sugar depending how sweet you like it)

2 tablespoons of sultanas

1 red chilli – sliced up

atchara ingredients

Zee Procedure

Pre- work – start by preparing the green papaya for dehydration

1. Wash and peel the green papaya. Cut in half and julienne. If you have a food processor, great. If not, I’ve got a Julienne slicer I bought for $12 that does the trick. It takes approx 10 mins to julienne the two.

2. Add to a large bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of Sea Salt only

3. Cover and refrigerate overnight to fully dehydrate. If you’re stuck for time, an hour in the fridge will suffice

4. Chuck the green papaya into a colander or strainer and rinse it under cold water

5. At this point, we need to squeeze out  all the moisture out of the green papaya. If you have a cheese cloth, great. Otherwise, a clean teatowl will do the trick. Lay the green papaya onto the middle of the cloth, roll it up and squeeze away all the excess liquid.

6. Place it back into the large bowl

atchara green papaya

Now we get back to business

7. Julienne the 2 carrots then thinly slice the red capsicum, onions, garlic and ginger then combine with green papaya gently with your hands

8. Add sultanas and sliced chilli

9. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper

10. Using tongs, carefully divide the ingredients into 2 sterilized jars. Try to evenly distribute the ginger

The Syrup

11. Add the vinegar and sugar to a saucepan, stir then boil for no longer than 6 minutes

12. Turn off the heat and let it all cool down then pour the syrup evenly into each jar

13. Tighten the lids and refrigerate for at least 1 week before serving.

jar of atchara

You’ve been served!

Sweet, salty, sour and spicy fragrant with garlic and ginger – Atchara makes the perfect accompaniment to to any meal. Personally, I love using it as a condiment to roast pork, roast beef sandwiches, BBQ meats, steamed and fried fish, salads, longanisa sausages, dried fish, tocino amongst other 100 dishes! You’ll love it.

Atchara Green Papaya PickledShot taken after 2 days of pickling

What have you pickled?

Craving more delicious Filipino recipes? Grab a copy of my cookbook What The Heck is Filipino Food? A Beginner’s Guide to Filipino Cooking.


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