When I was still living in the Manila I never bothered to know how to make atchara, primarily because I thought it’s easier to buy given that it’s readily available (and cheaper too) in supermarkets. I love atchara with my “silog” breakfasts, lechon kawali, inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly), or any dish that might be too monotonous to eat on its own. Atchara’s sweet and tart flavors add zing to these dishes.
Now that I am in Toronto, I’ve come to miss it so much and decided to make my own. I did a few tries until I got the right balance of sweetness from the sugar and the tartness of vinegar. I like my atchara to have bell peppers, carrots, ginger, and raisins so I always eat this more of like my vegetable side dish and prevents “umay” at the same time.
Atchara can be grated or julienned, depending on how fine you like it to be. This part of making atcharang papaya is my least favorite though. How I wish I had this food processor and for sure I would have grated/julienned papaya in a couple of minutes!
I usually make just a small batch and I always keep them in sterilized mason jars. Typically, the bottled atchara lasts 2-4 weeks in my fridge.
- 1 piece small unripe green papaya, peeled and seeded
- 1 tablespon + 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 piece small red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 piece small carrot, peeled and grated or julienned
- 1 piece small red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup raisins
Grate or julienne the green papaya and place in a shallow bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and let it sit for 1-2 hours until papaya begins to release liquid. Use a cheesecloth to squeeze out the juices and salt. Set aside.
To make the pickling solution, combine vinegar, sugar, water, and remaining salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Add in the shallots/ red onion, ginger, garlic, and peppercorn and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
In a deep bowl, combine the papaya, carrots, red pepper, and raisins. Pour the pickling solution and gently mix the vegetables.
Transfer atchara to sterilized jars with tight-fitting lids. Refrigerate for 1-2 days to allow the flavors to develop.