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.
1green papayafirm, seeds removed, grated (see notes)
2carrotspeeled and grated
1jicama or daikon radishgrated or julienned
1/2red onionthinly sliced
1fresno chilithinly 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.