Acar Awak (Nyonya Spicy Mixed Vegetable Pickle)

January 7, 2023

Acar Awak is a highly sought-after “commodity” because of its tasty, sour, and spicy flavors.

Almost any pickled vegetable is a favorite food item of Nyonya’s. As a result, it’s unsurprising that members of my Penang family adore pickled veggies, fish stomachs (perut ikan), and the cincaluk (preserved baby shrimp). For her part, grandmother loved the pickled Nyonya food.

For a long time, the process of making acar captivated my attention, or pickled mixed vegetables, in a spicy and sour “pickle” sauce that my aunt and my mother made.

Ancestors’ prayers and festivities aren’t complete without my 70-year-old aunt making an acar. Acar was produced just for this blog when she heard about it over the phone and immediately got to work on making some for me.

On the other hand, my siblings appreciated her delicious acar while I was stuck in the States.

Acar is a much-loved and sought-after “commodity” in my household due to its mouthwatering, sour, and spicy flavor. The acar recipe that my aunt gave me is below (acar awak).

Try Nyonya pickles if you haven’t already, as they have distinct flavors that other pickles lack. Just looking at this dish makes my stomach growl and my mouth moist with anticipation.

The average number of calories in one serving?

  • Each serving of this recipe contains only 339 calories.

With this recipe, what are its complementary dishes?

On the list below are some of my go-to midweek dinner recipes.


  • sugar to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 50 g of carrot, skin peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 50 g of French beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths (3 cm)
  • 150 g of cabbage, cut into big pieces
  • 50 g (2 oz.) roasted peanuts, ground
  • 300 g (10 oz.) cucumber, cut lengthwise with the skin and seeds on
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 50 g (2 oz.) long beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths (3 cm)


  • 1/2 inch (1 cm) fresh turmeric or some turmeric powder
  • 2 candlenuts
  • 5 shallots
  • 12 fresh red chilies


  • tamarind pulp, about golf ball size
  • 1 cup water


  1. Soak tamarind pulp for 15 minutes. Set aside the juice after squeezing.
  2. Set aside all spices in a food processor.
  3. Heat up a large amount of oil in a wok over high heat until shimmering and translucent throughout. When fragrant, remove from the heat. Cool gently after being removed from the heat. The salt and sugar can be altered.
  4. Remove the wok from the heat and then add the vegetables to it. You can also add ground peanuts.
  5. Allow the dish to cool before serving.


  • For a few days, you can keep acar in the fridge.
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