|Out of the world pickle|
I have a favorite stall at Bkt Batok where the queue is horrendous and price is heartwarming cheap. It is at the place where the old man hunches over his gigantic green weighing scale, mumbling calculations and looks up only to tell you how much to pay.
This morning there was a mini commotion – his helper did a ‘price adjustment’ to the cucumbers. 4 for 50 cents! Like the rest of the housewives, I made a beeline for it!
But what can 2 old folks do with 4 cucumbers the size of my lower forearm ? Achar! Someone back in the queue said. That’s it! Achar! Seize the day – make achar!
What I like about homemade achar is that it is fresh and I have my choice of ingredients. I like it thick with peanuts, sesame seeds and sweet – all these within my control.
The following portions are relative. Be free to adjust the amount of each ingredients except the turmeric. I did an overdose earlier and threw away a bitter lot of achar. Apart from that, anything goes!
1 Big cucumber – pulp removed, julienned
1 medium carrot – peeled, julienned
2 cups ripe pineapple, bitesize
½ cup Sea salt
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp belachan powder
½ cup rice vinegar
4 cups white sugar
2 cups ground toasted peanuts
1 cup white sesame seeds, toasted
Except for the pineapple, mix the cut vegetables with the salt.
Put the salted veg to drain from a colander, 1 hour.
Wash the veg and spin dry.
Meanwhile, heat the oil until hot. Turn off the heat ( this prevents burning the turmeric )
Add turmeric and belachan powder.
Add vinegar and sugar.
Heat again until the sugar starts to melt.
Remove from the stove to cool.
Add vegetables, vinegar mixture, peanuts and sesame seeds. Toss well.
Store in a clean glass container.
Consume in 5 days.