Nyonya Acar – 娘惹阿扎

One of the most special Nyonya cuisine, the Nyonya acar (mixed vegetables pickle).


Apa khabar?^^ (How are you?)

The Nyonya Acar is a sweet, spicy, rather sour and delicious mixed vegetables pickles in orange color due to the turmeric (kunyit). The “Peranakan Chinese” or “Baba-Nyonya” like to eat the pickles with rice and other side dishes. The unique and delicious taste of the pickles are addicting and everyone would love it. Who wouldn’t?

The last time my mum made this special mixed vegetables pickles were long time ago. I remember I was only a girl and can’t help my mum to prepare any ingredients for the pickles. I stood at the kitchen and watched my mummy slicing cucumbers, cutting cauliflowers, pounding peanuts…When everything is done, the “free and innocent” little nyonya just does her easiest job – tasting. My mum can make the most delicious archar, because it was made from the heart full of love.

And now, the little nyonya has grown up into a teenager. I’m now eighteen years old and I’m trying to learn authentic nyonya cuisine:)

If you think that this recipe is too much, you can cut every measurement into halves

You will need:


4 kg cucumber, 400 g carrots, 400 g cauliflower, 14 red chillies, 10 green chillies, 200 g white cabbage, 60 g sesame seeds, 200 g peanuts, 40 g dried shrimps, 16 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp sugar

Spices & Seasoning.

160 ml of lime juice (or white vinegar), 4 tsp salt, 4 tbsp sugar, 8 fresh red chillies, 40 g turmeric, 2 tbsp galangal, 4 stalks lemongrass, 10 candle nuts



  • Cut cucumber into halves and seed it.
  • Cut cucumber, carrots into strips. (about 2 inches)
  • Cut cauliflower and cabbage into bite size.
  • Cut red and green chillies into strips and seed it.
  • Cut limes & squeeze juice out.

When done, set aside.


Then, roast your peanuts at 160 degree C for 15 minutes (preheat your oven before this) or till the skin of the peanut comes out easily.


Or you could fry the peanuts in a pan till fragant:)

  • Skin the peanuts


“Seperti kacang melupakan kulit”:P (Malay proverb)

[Means that ones is ungrateful,as if the beans had forgotten the skin. Bite the hands that feed you]

While I was preparing for the peanuts, I found out my food processor broken down. So, I decided to go for the traditional way – mortar and pastel! It is really time consuming and my back hurts afterwards as I was squatting on the floor pounding all the peanuts><

Pound peanut coarsely.


Next, blend all spices together.( 8 fresh red chillies, 40 g turmeric, 2 tbsp galangal, 4 stalks lemongrass, 10 candle nuts)


Soak the dried shrimps about 10 minutes before pounding them.


After pounding the dried shrimp till fine, stir fry them in a wok over medium-high heat until light brown. Secondly, add in the blended spices and cook until fragrant and oil seeps out.


When the spices are cooked, transfer spices into a large mixing bowl and mix vegetables with spices,lime juice, pounded peanuts and sesame seeds:)


Mix it thoroughly:)

You’re almost done!


Pour the mix vegetable pickles into an air-tight container and freeze it in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.



The smaller bottles are gifts for mum’s friends~

Make sure the bottles are completely dry and clean before transferring the Acar!

Keep the acar in refrigerator, it can last for at least one month if the bottles and environment are squeaky clean^^

2014-01-18-20-51-17_deco[1] And there you go!

Good luck & selamat makan! ❤


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