Craving for ‘tapsilog’ or ‘longsilog’? You definitely have to have ‘atchara’ to go with it.
Since making the real deal is a bit tedious, one always settles for the bottled kind. But let me tell you that once you have made this, you won’t settle for less. The trick is to make a batch and store it; the atchara lasts for some months thereby saving you time every time you crave for fried pork or chicken, for breakfast or dinner.
I learned how to make this from the nurse of my paternal grandmother, Eufrasia Gino. Miss Gino is now in heaven but if one believes in ghosts, I can swear that she used to haunt her old room, where the shower would be found running.
Atchara (Picked Green Papaya)
Craving for ‘tapsilog’ or ‘longsilog’? You definitely have to have this pickled green papaya condiment to go along with it.
- 4 cups thickly grated green papaya
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 1/4 cup carrots - be creative and slice them like flowers, 1/8-inch thick rounds
- 4 long green chili/lady finger (siling mahaba) - split chili lengthwise, remove seeds and slice into thin strips crosswise
- 2 cups white radish (labanos) - peel and slice into half moons, thinly - place in a bowl and place 1 tablespoon salt and mix
- 5 cloves garlic - slice thinly into rounds (optional, I don’t like it)
- ½ cup small red onions (marble sized) (sibuyas Tagalog or pickling onions) - slice in half if small and into three if bigger - soak in salted water 1 tablespoon salt with 1 cup water
- 1 small red bell pepper (Capsicum) - cut in half, seed, remove vein, and slice into long strips or into diamond shape
- 1 small green bell pepper (Capsicum) - do the same as the red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon ginger - peel, slice into rounds and then into julienne strips (matchstick size)
- Pickling Sauce:
- 1 cup red vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
Prepare the green papaya
Mix the papaya and salt well.
Let stand overnight or for six hours.
With hands or using katcha (muslin cloth), squeeze the liquid out of the papaya.
Using a ‘bilao’ (rice winnower) spread the papaya and sun-dry till the papaya is about 1/4 it’s original size. Depending on how hot the sun is, this can take from 2 to 6 hours.
You can also use a fruit dryer to do this. You know that it’s rightly dried when the papaya turns whitish.
Prepare the pickle solution
In a non corrosive pot ( I use a ceramic glazed pot), boil vinegar with sugar and salt till the sugar dissolves; make sure you stir the pot till the sugar dissolves
In a large glass bowl, pour the cooled pickling sauce.
Then place all the different kinds of spices and vegetables and let sit for about 1 hour.
Then mix the dried papaya with the other vegetables in the pickling sauce.
Bottle in sterilized jars.
Seal and refrigerate.
It takes a week before it is good to serve. The flavors infuse and the vinegar mellows.
Lasts for a few months in refrigerator.
To make sure you have enough pickling sauce, make extra vinegar/sugar mixture so that you can top up just in case it’s lacking.