Achara or Atsara is a Filipino-style pickle relish. There are also variations in making achara. We can make use of young bamboo shoots (ubod ng kawayan) or coconut palm heart (ubod ng niyog). But the most common is the use of green papaya.
Achara is a perfect accompaniment for fried or grilled fish and meats.
My favorite is pairing it up with barbecue.
I remember in my hometown, you'll always find this served during fiestas. A jar of Achara also makes a nice gift or give-away for holidays like Christmas.
The recipe below is how my mother cooks it. She always makes this in big batches, so it's not surprising to find some stored jars of Achara when you open the fridge...
3 cups grated fresh green papaya
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced (or if you want to be creative- cut into florets)
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 green finger chilis, thinly sliced (for added hot spice- but optional)
2 thumbsized ginger, grated or thinly sliced
4 pcs shallots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1/8 tsp whole black peppercorn
1/2 cup raisins
1/8 tsp freshly ground peppercorn
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt, or to taste
- Cut papaya lenghtwise, remove seeds. Grate the papaya flesh.
- Soak grated papaya in warm water with 1 tbsp salt.
- Squeeze dry using a cloth.
- In a pan, mix together vinegar, sugar, carrots, shallots, garlic, ginger and whole black pepercorn. Let boil over medium heat.
- When vinegar is cooked (about 10 minutes), add papaya , red bell pepper , green chilis. Make sure papaya is coverd well with the vinegar mixture. Season with ground pepper and salt. Adjust sugar if needed.
- Cook for another 10 minutes over low heat.
- Let cool. Store in clean and dry jars.