This would not be your average pickles, as it has to be served with steamed rice, and steamed rice only. This is called “Acar Kuning” and is cooked with ground peanuts. It is deliciously stir-fried with chili and candlenut, and all pickles’ best friend, white vinegar. As with other Indonesian dishes, this is also very sweet and spicy and salty. It is also super special with the crunch bites. All types of vegetables used have different textures, it is really fun to eat! Also, I need new vocabularies to describe our beloved Indonesian dishes, really. I can’t use ‘sweet spicy and salty’ more than two thousand times!
First thing first, the vegetables are to be cut to same length, it is common practice for the veggies bit to be as same size as possible. Here I used long beans, baby corn, carrots and cucumber. Green, yellow, orange and white. We did blanch the long beans in advance – but I doubt it would make any difference with cooking them on the wok together with the other vegetables. The cucumber also needs special treatment. The cucumber sticks need to be marinaded with sugar and salt for half an hour to draw out all the excess liquid. If not, the excess water from cucumber will cause the dish to be soggy.
Chili and candlenut are grounded till very finely, and stir-fry with oil. The spices themselves have high oil content, so after frying for a while, the oil from candlenut and chili will emerge and please don’t freak out as the spices will curdle slightly. Oh wait .. do spices curdle? They did look ‘curdly’ to me.
The vegetables are added, and also water is added. When they are almost ready, the peanuts are added on the last stage. Any excess liquid will be absorbed by ground peanuts almost instantaneously. You will end up with a big batch of vegetable pickles! Enjoy!
Pickled Vegetables with Peanut (Acar Sayur Kacang)
300 g cucumber, seeded
300 g long beans
300 g carrot
300 g baby corn
1/2 cup cooking oil
3 tbsp chili paste, freshly ground
5 tbsp candlenut paste, freshly ground
6 tbsp sugar, and more for marinading cucumber
1/2 tbsp salt, and more for marinading cucumber
1 tbsp vinegar
2 cups water
200 g peanut, ground
Prepare all the vegetables in advance. The vegetables should be cut into same sized sticks
In a bowl, combine cut cucumbers and 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp salt. Mix well and leave for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid and lightly squeeze the cucumbers by hand to get rid of excess liquid
Heat cooking oil in a wok. Add chili and candlenut and fry over high heat for 10 minutes till the oil from candlenut and chili separate. Toss in all the vegetables and lower heat. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes
Add water and vinegar, cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring well. Add ground peanuts and mix well. Remove from heat
Remove the seeds from the chili before grinding if you would like milder acar
The cucumber sticks are slightly pickled with sugar and salt to draw out the excess liquid, otherwise the cucumber will be watery and the end result of the dish will be unfavorably soggy
The pickles would not keep longer than a couple of days in fridge