You can’t have grilled food without atchara—it’s non-negotiable. The sweet, tangy side dish/condiment balances out smoky meat or fish; it’s also great in bringing brightness to fried food. Heck, it works with anything Pinoy, really, bringing life to otherwise dull dishes. The great thing about atchara, too, is that it’s actually so easy to put together.
Just like most pickled food, it’s literally done just by leaving julienned or grated vegetables in liquid. Time does most of the work for you. So there’s very little you can do wrong when making atchara. The only thing that can give you an ounce of dissatisfaction is not getting the right flavor, especially if you’re particular about the sweetness or sourness of it. This basic atchara recipe leans towards the sour side of things, with just a subtle hint of sweetness. That said, it’s totally customizable, so you can adjust based on your preferences.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- ½ tbsp salt
- 4 cups green papaya, shredded or julienned
- 1 cup carrots, shredded or julienned
- 1 tsp salt
Combine white vinegar, white sugar, salt, and peppercorn in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Combine grated papaya and carrot with salt and mix well.
Place into a jar then pour over the cooled pickling liquid.
Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before using.
This recipe leans on the sour side. Add more sugar for a sweeter atchara.
Use this recipe as a base for your own atchara. Add whatever aromatics (onions, ginger, garlic) or extra ingredients (bell peppers, raisins) you like!