Acar (or achar) is a salad dish typically found in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, especially among the Malay/Indonesian community. Being an ethnic Chinese who grew up in Singapore, I have always liked eating acar, whether it is malay style or chinese style. I used to ask my mum to buy a big bag of acar from the wet market near our flat, and I would finish the whole plate of rice with just acar alone. It is very appetizing, I especially like the sweet, sour & yet tangy taste, which never fails to lift my appetite.
As far as I can remember, the key ingredients in making acar are typically carrots, cucumbers, pineapples, onions and chillies, and the sauce is typcally just a mixture of white vinegar, sugar and water. Though I have seen some versions of acar with long beans and cabbage. Sometimes, roasted sesami seeds and grounded peanuts are also added to give it more crunch.
There are many different recipes of acar on the internet, but I like this recipe the most. Minimal effort and no frying. This is the shortcut version of making acar. Maybe it is not authentic enough, but who cares, as long as it tastes good. :)
Here is the recipe which I adapted from Violet Fenying. (Her recipe blog has ceased to exist since Mar 2010).
1 cucumber (remove both ends & soak in water for 1 hour,then cut into pieces)
1 carrot (remove skin and cut into pieces)
1 can of pineapples (already cut, retain the juices)
1 onion (remove skin and cut into pieces)
150ml hot water
100g white vinegar
1) Get ready Ingredients A, leave aside for later use.
2) Dissolve sugar in hot water, let cool.
3) Pour vinegar into water mixture, stir well. If you wish, you can add in the canned pineapple juices.
4) Add in cucumber, carrot, pineapple, onion, stir well, and leave in fridge for 1 hour.
Note: Original recipe calls for 150g each of water, vinegar and sugar. I have reduced the sugar and vinegar each to 100g, while the amount of water is still 150ml. I think this is healthier and more palatable, especially for those who cannot handle too much acidity in the vinegar.