Given we have taught a couple of Indonesian Cooking Classes, it seems fitting that we showcase our Indonesian recipes as part of our World Bento series. The great thing about Indonesian food is that you can easily adjust the chilli/spice level down in the recipes to suit the kiddos and the adults can compensate by eating large amounts of spicy condiments (like I do!). In fact, sometimes, it feels like I am having some curry with my spicy sambal. 🙂
Our Indonesian bento consisted of some savory, delicious, creamy and super flavorful chicken curry with potatoes (kari ayam), stir fried string beans with fluffy and fragrant steamed jasmine rice and fruit for dessert. The condiments of sambal, fried crispy shallots and Indonesian pickle (acar), just make the whole set-up “pop” in appearance and taste.
The “acar” recipe below is absolutely yummy. “Acar” is the Indonesian word for pickle and it is a typical condiment served along many main dishes. It is usually made from small chunks of cucumber, carrot, shallot, chilli and even pineapple or mango. You can add lemongrass and ginger as well. The marinating liquid is a sweet and sour solution of sugar and vinegar. This pickle also works very well in almost any kind of sandwich and I am sure you will have no trouble coming up with other creative uses for this verydelicious condiment.
Acar – Indonesian Pickle
- Shallots & carrots, diced — 1/2
- Chile pepper, slit open down one side — 1
- Sugar — 3 to 4 tablespoons
- Salt — 1 teaspoon
- Peppercorns — 2 or 3
- White vinegar — 3/4 cup
- Water — 1/4 cup
- Cucumber, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds — 1
- In a plastic/glass container, add cucumber, shallot, carrots, peppercorns and chilies. Sprinkle sugar and salt. Cover the lid, shake the container (don’t shake too hard) and leave it for 5 minutes. Then, open up the lid and add vinegar and water.
- Close the lid and store it the fridge.