Atsarang Papaya is a famous appetizer in the Philippines. Though there are many variations of atsara (which refers to anything pickled), the green papaya version is the most popular to Filipinos. It’s because papaya tree grows just anywhere in the Philippines. Unlike the labong (bamboo shoots) and ubod ng nyog (hearts of palm) which are the other two most common atsara ingredients, papaya is more readily available. You can always find it in the market and a lot of families have papaya trees in their backyards.
Luckily, papaya is also available here in Texas. Not all the time though…but whenever I find papaya at the nearby Asian store, I never fail to buy one and make it into a delicious atsara.
Let me clarify that my husband actually makes the atsara. It’s one of his specialties and I really love his version. It has the wonderful blending of sweet and sour taste, and the crunchiness of the vegetables is just perfect!
I’m so proud to share his recipe with you. If you like pickled vegetables…you should try this! It will definitely add life to dull dishes like fried/grilled meat or fish!
Atsarang Papaya (Pickled Green Papaya)
- 1 whole green papaya (peeled, deseeded and finely shredded)
- 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- ½ green bell pepper, julienned
- 1 head garlic, sliced thinly
- ½ cup ginger, julienned
- 12 pcs. shallots, peeled and cut crosswise into 3 to 4 slices
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp. white sugar
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp peppercorns
- Drain the liquid from the finely shredded papaya by squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Put in a bowl and set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, half of the ginger and half of the garlic. Keep on stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil.
- Add all the ingredients except the papaya. Mix well. Remove from heat.
- Allow to cool down. When the mixture is lukewarm, pour over the grated papaya. Mix well. Let sit for 2 hours, tossing every 30 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to clean, dry jars with lids. Let cool and refrigerate. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before using.
- Serve with fried meat or fish or as desired.
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