By the Way

By the way, I wanted to thank all of you who have shared such lovely sentiments of support, and yes, your votes, that helped me advance to Challenge 3 of Project Food Blog. It was a joy to host a dinner party and share the experience…

By the Way

By the way, I wanted to thank all of you who have shared such lovely sentiments of support, and yes, your votes, that helped me advance to Challenge 3 of Project Food Blog. It was a joy to host a dinner party and share the experience with my fellow bloggers – how I wish I could meet so many more of you! I really, truly appreciate all the lovely comments I received on my entry post, and thank all of you who took a moment to write.

Voting is now open! From now until 6 PM Pacific Time (9 PM Eastern) on Thursday, October 7th, you may vote by clicking here, or by clicking on the widget to the right. Don’t forget to click on the heart to show your love! Thank you everyone!

Oh! One more thing.

I wanted to share the recipe for one of the dishes I featured in my Filipiniana Dinner Party.

Achara, if you recall, is a traditional condiment of pickled green papaya, carrots and peppers. Sometimes I feel so badly for the often overlooked condiments of the food world. They are the after thought, the aside, the “by the way” of the meal. Achara is one of those condiments that deserves some time in the spotlight.

Crunchy green papaya, combined with the sweet-sour tang of the gingered pickle juice, makes for an incredibly refreshing accent to so many dishes. You will often find Filipinos enjoying Achara with barbecued meats, or with fish. After I made a large batch, I started adding it to many other things I ate this week, and found that it works so well on sandwiches and burgers of all varieties. I imagine it would make a fantastic hot dog topping too.

My adaptation features green papaya, of course, but also adds some red onion, peppers, and jicama. As a child, I always thought Achara was mysteriously difficult to make, since my only taste of it would come from visits to the Philippines or from relatives who came to visit bearing carefully wrapped jars of the precious condiment. But it’s not hard at all. It’s actually so very easy.

It’ll rival a dill pickle any day.


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

  • 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, grated or julienned
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

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.


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  1. Liren

    Thank you guys, for all your support — thanks to all of you, I’m excited to continue in the next round of PFB. Thanks, too, for your enthusiasm for Achara! I hope you guys do try it some day, it’s just wonderful!

  2. Mindy

    Thanks for the recipe- I love various cuisines’ condiments and will have to try it.

  3. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    You know, i’m not a huge pickle fan, but I do love slaws and other things that are pickled. This recipe looks right up my alley. The flavors here are all wonderful.

    And, as you know, I voted for you and will always vote for you!

  4. ziggy

    goodness this book is everywhere! I want one!

    Bourdain praises the Green Papaya salad he had in Thailand (?) and I was hoping he’d have ours in the Philippines but I don’t know if he ever had his taste buds blessed by it. This is easily the best salad anyone can ever toss. I remember in the Philippines, they would squeeze them with salt or in Amy Besa’s case squeezed within a cheesecloth. My kid’s bday is coming soon and this will be on the table.

    • Liren

      I was so happy to receive this cookbook as a birthday present from my brother. It’s just beautiful. I’ve also heard of salting the papaya and letting it dry in the sun, but haven’t tried that yet.

  5. Monet

    A lovely adaptation, and a lovely post. Of course you have my vote. Your meal was stunning from start to finish, and I’m glad that you are sharing some of the recipes from your meal. I have never heard of this slaw before, but I love papaya, so I know this would be a winner on my table.

  6. Amy

    Congratulations on moving on to the next round! I’ve never herad of Achara. What do people put it on?

    • Liren

      Achara is extremely versatile! You can put it on grilled pork, chicken, fish. I really enjoyed it in my sandwiches and wraps, too.

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