Side Dishes

Achara (atsara) Achara (atsara)

Achara, or atsara, means pickled green papaya. Well, basically. Carrots, ginger, onions and bell peppers are added to the papaya to turn it into achara. The pickling solution–a mixture of vinegar, sugar and salt–preserves the papaya and the vegetables. In air-tight jars, achara will keep even without refrigeration. After the jar has been opened, however, it is best to refrigerate achara.

I only made enough achara for a meal. We had pork barbeque and achara is one of the best accompaniments for grilled meat or fish. The proportions in the following recipe is good as a side dish for 4-5 persons.


  • 1 green (unripe) papaya
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • rock salt
  • For the pickling solution :
  • 1 c. of strong vinegar
  • 11/8 c. of white sugar
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of powdered black pepper


  1. Peel the papaya and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Shred the papaya using a vegetable grater (similar to a cheese grater but with bigger holes). Sprinkle with about a tablespoonful of rock salt and toss well. Let stand for 15-20 minutes then squeeze out the juices.
  2. Peel and cut the carrot into florets.
  3. Seed the bell peppers and julienne.
  4. Peel the ginger and julienne.
  5. Toss the papaya and the vegetables together.
  6. Mix together the ingredients for the pickling solution except for the pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to completely dissolve the sugar and salt. Cool. Pour over the papaya and vegetables, add the pepper and toss well. Let stand for about 30 minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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