Glass jar filled with homemade Achara on a wooden surface.

Achara: Filipino Green Papaya Relish

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth, but the truth is, as much as I will never say no to a fudgey brownie barely out of the oven or a decadent ice cream cake, the same can be said for my sour tooth.…

Glass jar filled with homemade Achara on a wooden surface.
Achara: Filipino Green Papaya Relish

Achara (aka Atchara or Atsara) is a delicious Filipino Green Papaya relish - it goes so well with anything off the grill!

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth, but the truth is, as much as I will never say no to a fudgey brownie barely out of the oven or a decadent ice cream cake, the same can be said for my sour tooth. When it comes to candy, I was the kid who sucked on Warheads like they were peppermints, and Sour Patch Kids was child’s play. We have currently in our refrigerator at least 7 jars of pickles and relishes, and you should have seen my eyes bulge when my husband brought home a jar of pickled okra the other day.

So, I have a question for you.

Have you ever tried green papaya? If not, may I introduce you to Achara: Filipino Green Papaya Relish. You’ll want to put it on just about everything.

Ever try green papaya? You'll love it in Achara - it's a Filipino Green Papaya Relish!

Have you ever tried green papaya? You'll love it in a relish. This Achara Filipino Green Papaya Relish is so easy to make and goes with just about anything - think of it as a Filipino pickle.

Achara is the condiment that I always found on the table when we used to travel back to the Philippines to visit my father’s side of the family. It was like the ketchup or mustard, and it went with just about anything. Grilled fish, barbecued pork, grilled chicken – achara has that sweet and sour flavor that I just love. Try it with a burger or a hot dog, and you’ll soon find that you’ll want to put it on just about everything, too!

You'll want to put this Green Papaya Relish on everything!

Achara: Filipino Green Papaya Relish

3 cups | Prep: 15 minutes, plus overnight resting | Cook: 15 minutes

Achara - also known as atchara or atsara - is a traditional condiment of pickled green papaya, carrots and peppers in Filipino cuisine. Crunchy green papaya, combined with the sweet-sour tang of the gingered pickle juice, makes for an incredibly refreshing accent to so many dishes. Achara is often served with barbecued meats, or with fish. I find it works so well as a relish on sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs, too.


3 cups rice vinegar
1 1/8 cups sugar
2 3/4 tablespoons salt
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & julienned
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 green papaya (firm), seeds removed, grated (I like to use a melon scraper I used in this post)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 jicama or daikon radish, grated or julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 fresno chili, thinly sliced (optional, for heat)



In a non reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, 3/4 tablespoon salt, garlic and ginger over high heat, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and the salt. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the pepper. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Toss the vegetables with the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place papaya mixture in a cheesecloth-lined colander and rinse well under water. Bring up ends of cheesecloth and squeeze excess liquid. Place papaya mixture into a bowl and pour just enough pickling mixture to cover. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Adapted from Memories of Philippine Kitchens, by Amy Besa and Roma Dorotan


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  1. Christine

    Where can I find green papaya? Can send some tips to pick just the right papaya for making this?

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Christine, I’m not sure where you live, but here in Northern California, I find it easiest to buy green papaya at my local Asian market, such as 99 Ranch. The papaya should be green and quite firm. As it ripens, it will soften and turn yellow and eventually orange — delicious, but ripe papaya does not work in this recipe. When you cut into the papaya, you’ll notice that the seeds inside will be tiny and white, instead of the pearly black in the ripened fruit. I hope this helps!

  2. Cats

    After a conversation with a close friend, I looked for a recipe for atsara. It turned out great. I have 3 big jars of relish. My friend got one, I’m going to keep one and my mom asked for one. Looking thru the rest of your site for other recipes. Thank you.

  3. Tegan

    Can I can this achara to preserve it, or is it strictly a refrigerator pickle??

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Tegan, I personally always keep the achara in the refrigerator. I know some say it can be preserved, but to play it safe, I keep it in the fridge! I hope that helps!

  4. Mandy

    Hi, what kind of red pepper? I live in Hawaii and the market’s are full of a variety of red peppers. Thanks!

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Mandy, you’re so lucky to live in Hawaii with an abundance of peppers! I just use a standard sweet red bell pepper. If you’re referring to the chili, I use a Fresno chili, but feel free to experiment with your favorite!

    • Liren Baker

      Yes, once you get through the winter storms! But if you’ve got fish roasting in the oven, you can make it sooner :) I think Eric will love it!

    • Liren Baker

      Datu Puti vinegar would work well, too, Didi! Depending on where you live, sometimes rice vinegar is a little easier to find, so I used that :)

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