When I was a kid, we use to have atsara in our table during meals because my grandmother use to make one, and she usually place it in a bottle. No, I don’t eat atsara, my parents does! But just as when I grew up, I realized that every Filipino fried or grilled viands isn’t complete without atsara!
Atsara means pickled green papaya. It is a Filipino salad used to complement fried or grilled viands. There are lots of versions of Pinoy Atsara, but commonly carrots, gingers, onions, and bell peppers are added to make a perfect atsara. Anyway, whatever version it maybe, I guess my grandmother is still the best atsara maker in town.
The mixture of salt, vinegar and sugar preserves the papaya and the vegetables. It is commonly place in air tight jars, refrigerated or not, the atsara would still be in its best taste. The sweet and sour taste of atsara leaves you, mouth-watering.
Now, let’s start cooking our own version of atsara, beating that of my grandmother! Hahahaha
Time for preparation = 30 minutes
Time for cooking = variable
1 kilo grated green papaya
1/2 cup raisins
1 julienned medium green bell pepper
1 julienned red bell pepper
2 grated carrots
1 grated onion
2 Tbsp salt
2 cups of sugar
1 julienned ginger (about 1/2 the size of a matchbox)
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Mix the green papaya with salt in a large, clean bowl, then cover with aluminum or cling film. Leave inside the refrigerator until the next day.
- While waiting, mix the sugar and vinegar, then boil the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Put in the garlic, black pepper, and ginger. Allow to simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- In the morning, rinse the papaya. Then, using a cheesecloth, squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Mix the papaya with the raisins, green and red bell pepper, carrots, and onions.
- The next step of this authentic Filipino recipe is important as the success of pickling depends on how clean you work. Place the vegetable mix into several sterilized bottles or jars.
- Pour the vinegar & water solution into the bottles. Make sure to get rid of bubbles; you can do this by using a fork or spoon to push down the vegetables into the jar. Make sure the vegetable mix is completely immersed in the solution.
- Place a tight lid on the jar. If you want to eat the atsara immediately, just remember that the jar should be good for a week, no more. Also, always keep the jar refrigerated. Otherwise, if you want to pickle the mixture for them to last for a longer period, proceed to the next few steps.
- Place the jars in a deep pot, then fill the pot with water. Make sure the jars are completely immersed in the water; the water should ideally be about an inch above the lids. Then, boil the pot of water with the bottles in them. Allow the water to boil for 30 minutes (remember to start counting only after it starts to boil).
- Allow the entire pot to cool completely. After successful cooling, there should be a vacuum inside the bottles. You should find it hard to open the bottles. If not, repeat the boiling process – that is, if you want to have well-preserved atsara that can last for about 2 months.
I tell you, it is best paired with our very own Filipino version of barbeque. Start making yours, too!
Filipino foodstuff? Expect it to be perfectly yummy!