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Acar - Indonesian Pickle

Easy 30-minute Indonesian pickle with cucumber, carrot, shallot, and bird-eye chilies. Serve with Indonesian fried rice, fried noodles, satay, martabak, and soto.
Acar - Indonesian pickle with cucumber, carrot, shallot, and red chilies.

Acar - Indonesian pickle with cucumber, carrot, shallot, and red chilies.

Acar is the most popular Indonesian pickle. We serve this as a side dish to accompany nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), mi goreng (Indonesian stir-fried noodles), sate/satay, martabak, and soto. It will perk up even the most humble instant noodles/ramen.

Those new to pickling anything, making acar is a good introduction. It doesn’t require fancy tools, and all the ingredients for the vegetables and pickling juice are widely available no matter where you are in the world.

Ingredients for acar (Indonesian pickle): cucumber, carrot, shallot, red chilies, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Ingredients for acar (Indonesian pickle): cucumber, carrot, shallot, red chilies, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Ingredients for acar (Indonesian pickle)

1. Vegetables for acar: cucumber, carrot, shallot, and red chilies

We will not cook any of these vegetables, so you must use the freshest possible ingredients so your acar will be delicious and has a long shelf-life.

You can use garden cucumber (the most common variety in the US), Kirby cucumber (pickling cucumber), or even English cucumber. If your cucumber is waxed, be sure to give it a good scrub to remove the wax. Alternatively, you can peel the cucumber too though I love the dark green color of the peel and would rather scrub than peel.

2. Pickling juice: water, sugar, salt, and vinegar

You can use distilled white vinegar, or if you are feeling fancy, try cane sugar vinegar or rice vinegar. Since cane sugar and rice vinegar are both milder compared to distilled white vinegar, you will need to use more when using these.

(1) Deseed cucumber and cut into cubes, peel carrot and cut into cubes, peel shallot and cut into cubes, chop red chilies. (2) Sprinkle all vegetables with salt to make them more crispy. (3) Wash and drain the vegetables. (4) Boil water, sugar, salt, and vinegar until sugar dissolves, then add vegetables and rest for 10 minutes.

(1) Deseed cucumber and cut into cubes, peel carrot and cut into cubes, peel shallot and cut into cubes, chop red chilies. (2) Sprinkle all vegetables with salt to make them more crispy. (3) Wash and drain the vegetables. (4) Boil water, sugar, salt, and vinegar until sugar dissolves, then add vegetables and rest for 10 minutes.

Step-by-step to prepare Indonesian pickle

1. Prep the vegetables

Scrub/peel the cucumber, remove the seeds, and cut it into small cubes. Peel carrot and shallot and cut them into small cubes. Chop red chilies. Please make sure that the cucumber, carrot, and shallot are all about the same size.

2. Salt the vegetables

Sprinkle chopped vegetables with about a teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Salting reduces the water content from the vegetables and makes the pickle crispier. Salt chilies separately if you don’t want a spicy pickle.

Wash the vegetables under running water and strain with a colander. Set aside.

3. Pickle the vegetables

Boil water, sugar, salt, and vinegar in a pot until sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add all the vegetables into the pot.

After 10 minutes of resting period, transfer the pickle to clean glass jars. You should be able to fill four 8-ounce glass jars. Let the pickle cool slightly before storing it in the fridge.

Transfer acar/pickle into clean glass jars, and rest for at least one hour before enjoying.

Transfer acar/pickle into clean glass jars, and rest for at least one hour before enjoying.

Storing and serving Indonesian pickle

Store acar in the fridge. It is best to rest the pickle for at least one day to develop the flavor before serving.

Storing the pickle in multiple smaller jars will prolong their shelf lives. An unopened jar should stay fresh for up to two months. Once open, please consume the pickle within one week.

Serve acar with nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), mi goreng (Indonesian stir-fried noodles), sate/satay, martabak, and soto.

Serve acar with nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), mi goreng (Indonesian stir-fried noodles), sate/satay, martabak, and soto.

Acar - Indonesian Pickle

4.8 from 5 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 4 cups

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 small cucumber, remove the seeds and cut into cubes
  • 2 small carrot, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 25 Thai/bird-eye chili, remove the stems and chopped
  • 3 French shallot (or 15 Chinese/Asian shallot), peeled and half each shallot
  • 500 ml (2 cup) water
  • 150 gram (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar, or 3 tablespoon cane sugar/rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Scrub/peel the cucumber, remove the seeds, and cut it into small cubes. Peel carrot and shallot and cut them into small cubes. Chop red chilies. Please make sure that the cucumber, carrot, and shallot are all about the same size. You should get about 3 cups of vegetables.
  2. Salt the vegetables: Sprinkle chopped vegetables with about a teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Salting reduces the water content from the vegetables and makes the pickle crispier. Salt chilies separately if you don’t want a spicy pickle. Wash the vegetables under running water and strain with a colander. Set aside.
  3. Pickle the vegetables: Boil water, sugar, salt, and vinegar in a pot until sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add all the vegetables into the pot. After 10 minutes of resting period, transfer the pickle to clean glass jars. You should be able to fill four 8-ounce glass jars.
  4. Storing and serving the pickle: Let the pickle cool slightly before storing it in the fridge. It is best to rest the pickle for at least one day to develop the flavor before serving. An unopened jar should stay fresh for up to two months. Once open, please consume the pickle within one week.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Yenni B. Yenni B. says:

    I made cucumber-dill pickle last summer, but I miss Acar. I will definitely make this soon. Thank you, and keep the good work! :)

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for the encouragement Yenni, will do :) And yes, I guess to Indonesians, the best pickle will always be acar ♥

  • Dedy@Dentist Chef Dedy@Dentist Chef says:

    You know what Anita, i used to consume this pickle with instant noodle for my breakfast supper too.... slightly reduce my guilty feelling, hehehe

    • Anita Anita says:

      Me too, me too, haha :D

  • kiet trinh kiet trinh says:

    i try to make yours pickle , only thats i add a bit more vinegar , more sugar , , yum !!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yup, I sometimes tweak the pickling liquid slightly as well, especially if I switch to a difference brand of vinegar :)

  • Ling Ling says:

    Miss Anita, liquid nya Harus nuggu dingin gak? Hehe Thanks yah

    • Anita Anita says:

      Tidak perlu tunggu dingin Ling. Cheers!

      • Ling Ling says:

        Thanks a lot for reply me...appreciate that.

  • JC JC says:

    I lived in Jakarta when I was a child, and am always on the lookout for authentic dishes. This acar recipe was just what I needed to accompany my nasi goreng. Thanks!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I am happy you like the recipe. I also have this with mie goreng, soto betawi, and martabak :)

  • Scott C. Wilmot Scott C. Wilmot says:

    Selamat sore Anita. We had dinner yesterday (April 2 2016) for my mother-in-law - she was 92 and my sister-in-law made us a delicious indonesian curry with sate and acar - I couldn't for the life of me remember the name 'acar' but googled around and your recipe came up. I am glad I found your website - thanks.

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Scott. And that dinner sounds very lovely :)

  • Rosaline Rosaline says:

    Hey, anita. Just wondering, can I use japanese rice vinegar to make acar? I read it can be use to pickle vegetable, but I'm not quite sure it applies to acar as well.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yes, you can use Japanese rice vinegar too. If it feels too mild, you can always use 3 tablespoons of vinegar instead of 2 tablespoons.

  • Guhan Subramaniam Guhan Subramaniam says:

    Excellent recipe. I would serve this minimum 2 days later as by then the flavours from the shallots, chilli, sugar and vinegar would have infused into the liquid and the vegetables. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Guhan! I too try to wait it out a bit, even in a hurry, I would usually give it an overnight rest in the fridge to develop the flavor.

  • CSB CSB says:

    Is it alright to use normal (finely cut) onions (bawang putih) to replace the shallots?

    • Anita Anita says:

      I have never tried regular yellow onion before, but I have tried using red onion (not shallot). If you can find red onion, I think it would be a better substitute.

  • Dennis Yannakos Dennis Yannakos says:

    Awesome pickle recipe for Summer!

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