How to Make Filipino Atchara and Kimchi Atchara at Home

Visit any Filipino household and there’s a good chance you’ll find a jar of atchara in their fridge. It’s pretty much a pantry essential in every Filipino home.

Atchara is essentially pickled papayas, though usually it also comes with carrots and red bell peppers. It undergoes a fermentation process, much like kimchi in Korea, or sauerkraut in Germany. It’s a refreshing accompaniment to many Filipino dishes, which is why Filipinos like to stock up on these in their homes.

We’ll be making 3 variations of atchara: the classic papaya atchara, kimchi atchara, and a cucumber atchara. Each one is delicious in their own right, and you can have them as the perfect condiment for many Filipino dishes!

 

 

Papaya Atchara

  • 3 cups papaya
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 1 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/2 sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 long red chili
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups coconut vinegar
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. De-seed and grate or slice the papaya into thin strands.
  2. In a jar, add papaya and salt. Rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Thinly slice carrots, bell pepper, onion, ginger, and chili. Set aside.
  4. Place papaya in a cheesecloth and wring out the excess water. Once dried, mix in with the other vegetables.
  5. Make the brine by combining water, coconut vinegar, garlic, and sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer. Adjust according to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Place vegetables in a jar and completely fill with brine. Let it sit for at least 1 day in the fridge before use.

 

Kimchi Atchara

  • 3 cups papaya
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 red onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 3-inch piece of ginger
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup gochujaru
  1. Combine thinly sliced papaya, red bell pepper, and carrots in a jar.
  2. Make the brine by combining 5 cups of water and 3 tbsp of kosher salt. Submerge the vegetable in the brine and let it sit for 4 hours.
  3. After the 3 hours, use a blender or food processor to blitz onions, garlic, and ginger.
  4. In a bowl, combine sugar, fish sauce, minced vegetables, and brined vegetables (squeeze out excess water). Add gochujaru according to taste (I used 1/2 cup).
  5. Add the vegetables along with the brine in a crock pot or airtight tupperware, making sure to completely submerge the vegetables.
  6. Leave it out to sit on your kitchen for 2-8 days, tasting each day to check on the sourness. The tanginess develops more each day you leave it out, so once you have your desired taste, place it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process.

 

Cucumber Atchara

  • 4 lebanese cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 chopped red chilies
  • 1/3 cup spring onions, white part only
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  1. Thinly slice cucumbers. Grate ginger and turmeric, and combine all three in a jar. Add chopped chilies, spring onions, and lemon zest.
  2. Use the same brine recipe as the papaya atchara, completely submerge the vegetables in the brine and let it sit out for 1 day before using.

 

Need recipe ideas to go with your atchara? Try this chicken inasal and Filipino pork barbecue recipe!

Erwan Heussaff
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