Mixed Vegetable Pickle

Acar Awak

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This classic Malaysian pickle is vibrant yellow from turmeric, and sparkles with the flavor of lemongrass. On Chinese New Year the pickle accompanies the deep brown chicken stew (pong teh), it piquant flavor juxtaposes the savory and rich stew. I keep them in my refrigerator for a snack, tossed into salads or with other salty dishes that call for their sweet and sour crunch. If it’s a nice sunny day, place the vegetables, after blanched in vinegar in step two, on a pan uncovered in the sun to dehydrate them for a couple of hours, this will create an even crisper pickle. Although they can be stored for up to one month, these pickles taste best in the first two weeks.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (¼ oz. / 7 gm.) Dried red chilies, remove stems and seeds
  • cups Distilled (white) vinegar (divided use)
  • 1 cup Biet size carrot strips, about 2 inches (5 cm.) long and ½ inch (1.3 cm.) thick
  • 1 medium Kirby cucumber, seeded, cut into bite size strips, about 2 inches ( 5 cm.) long and ½ inch (1.3 cm.) thick
  • 1 cup Green cabbage strips, about inch (about 3.9 cm) wide
  • 1 cup Green beans pieces, about -inch (about 3.9 cm) pieces
  • 2 medium Red long chilies strips, about ½ × 2-inch (1.3 × 5 cm.) strips
  • ½ cup Vegetable oil
  • 2 medium Shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Finely galangal
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed and sliced very thin, about 1/16 inch (.1 cm.)
  • ½ tsp. Turmeric powder
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Peanuts, roasted in dry pan, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Soak chilies in ½ cup of room temperature water for 30 minutes, drain and squeeze out excess moisture.
  2. Blanch the vegetables: Bring 3 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of water to a boil in a 2 qt. (2 L.). saucepan. Simmer the vegetables in this liquid separately, cooking for times listed below.

    • Carrots—30 seconds
    • Cucumbers—10 seconds
    • Cabbage—10 seconds
    • Green beans—10 seconds
  3. Retrieve from blanching liquid with a slotted spoon or wire mesh skimmer.
  4. Cool and dry the vegetables: Drain vegetables well, and then spread out evenly on a baking sheet to cool. Press gently with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Air-dry for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours (in the sun if possible—this will increase the crunch). Discard the vinegar mixture after blanching vegetables.
  5. Make the rempah: In a blender, puree oil, soaked chilies, garlic, shallots, galangal, lemongrass, and turmeric until smooth. Heat large wok or a pot over medium heat. Add chili-spice puree, and cook until very fragrant, 3 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  6. Dress the vegetables: Remove rempah from heat. Add cucumber, carrots, green beans, cabbage, chilies and ground peanuts, stir to coat vegetables evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with sugar, salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to glass or plastic containers, cover and store in refrigerator. Pickles should marinate at least 24 hours before serving

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