Atchara (Filipino Pickles)

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
March 28, 2024 | Updated on March 28, 2024

This atchara recipe is made with crisp carrots and daikon, pickled in a sweet, spicy, tangy brine of vinegar, sugar, peppers, garlic, and ginger. The Filipino condiment also doubles as a refreshing side for BBQ, sandwiches, salads, and more!

Looking for more Asian condiment recipes? Try my Toyomansi – Filipino Dipping Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe, and Yuzu Mayo next.

close up view of a bowl of Filipino pickles

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Atchara is a sweet, sour, slightly spicy condiment that pairs well with all your favorite Filipino foods. This pickled side dish is a bright, refreshing departure from the familiar salty, savory flavors from the Philippines. With a pop of color and crunchy tanginess, this recipe is a standout side dish for any occasion.

Why This Atchara Recipe Works

  • Easy to Make – Simply boil your brine and add it to a sealed jar with veggies. This condiment can be made and eaten in just over 1 hour.
  • Stores Well – While you can eat these the same day you make them, a few days in the fridge intensifies the flavor, making it even better tasting.
  • Customizable – Play around with the ingredients and ratios to make this dish suit your taste. Whether you like it more sweet, savory, or spicy, you have options!
a bowl containing atchara

What is Atchara?

Atchara, also known as atsara or achara, is a Filipino pickled condiment traditionally made with unripe, green papaya. This versatile dish is served with many Filipino dishes as a side dish, topping, or condiment.

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need

While most atchara recipes use green papaya, I opt for daikon. You get a similar crunchy bite, with a more subtle sweetness.

  • Carrots – This vegetable has lightly sweet taste and adds a nice crunch to the condiment. Thinly slice it with a mandoline.
  • Daikon –  This peppery, crunchy radish is perfect for pickling. Thinly slice it with a mandoline for the best texture.
sliced daikon and carrots

Atchara Brine

  • Garlic –  While it doesn’t affect the pickling process, thinly sliced fresh garlic adds great garlic flavor.
  • Ginger –  Peel and cut ginger into ⅛-inch thick coins for a warm, spicy taste.
  • Whole black peppercorns – This adds a pungent, earthy flavor to offset some sweeter ingredients.
  • Rice vinegar – This adds a sharp, tangy taste to the brine for a pop of acidity.
  • Sugar – Balance the sour taste of the vinegar with a touch of sweetness.
  • Thai chilis –  Add these for a spicy kick or use red chili flakes instead.
  • Water – This dilutes the brine and ensures the veggies are fully submerged in liquid during the pickling process.
  • Kosher salt – Use Diamond Crystal instead of iodized salt. It enhances the overall taste without making the brine cloudy.

How To Make Atchara

This simple recipe requires just one extra step before adding everything to a jar. Bring the brine to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar and sterilize the mixture.

  1. Place carrot and daikon in the clean weck jar. Set aside.
  2. Add all brine ingredients to a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until the mixture begins to gently simmer.
vinegar and sugar mixture in a saucepan

3. Stir until sugar dissolves then turn off heat. Once the brine is warm to the touch, transfer to the jar with the carrot and daikon.

4. Cover with lid then leave on the counter until completely cool.If planning to eat immediately, leave for 1 hour to quick-pickle before eating.

5. Can be made up to 1 week ahead. Refrigerate when not using.

overhead view of a jar containing carrots and daikon sitting in atchara brine

Tips and Tricks

  • Use fresh vegetables. Your carrots and daikon should be crisp and firm so they retain their texture as they sit in the brine. Do not opt for pre-shredded vegetables.
  • Slice the veggies uniformly. A mandoline slicer works best for even pieces.
  • Close the jar lid while the mixture is still hot. Fill the container up to the very top to prevent bad bacteria from forming in air pockets.
  • Make this up to 1 week in advance. You can eat the condiment the day you make it but it benefits from a few days in the fridge.
  • To store leftovers, simply add the atchara back to the airtight jar and refrigerate it.

Variations

  • Green Papaya – Traditional atchara uses unripe papayas for a tropical, tangy taste.
  • Cucumbers – Add seedless cucumbers for a crisp texture.
  • Spicy – Although these Filipino pickles have a kick from the Thai chilis, you can use sliced jalapeños instead for a little less spiciness.
  • Additions – Some atchara recipes include ingredients like raisins or pineapple chunks for added sweetness and texture. If you prefer more savory notes, try bell peppers and onions or shallots.
a spoon inserted into a jar of atchara

Frequently Asked Questions

Is atchara the same as sauerkraut?

No. While both dishes are fermented, they use different ingredients. Atchara is a Filipino condiment with a sweet, sour, and slightly spicy flavor. Whereas sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish from Germany.

What is the purpose of atchara?

With its sweet, tart, tangy flavor, the condiment acts as a palate cleanser. The Filipino phrase for this is “pantanggal umay.”

What do you eat atchara with?

It’s commonly served with grilled meats, seafood, noodles, or fried foods with salty, savory, or smoky notes. Serve it with Filipino foods like pork belly lechon, BBQ skewers, adobo sliders, and even breakfast dishes like sinangag. But it’s not limited to Filipino cuisine; serve it alongside this Crispy Fish Sandwich or atop this Crispy Shrimp Burger.

How long does atchara last?

When properly stored, atchara lasts for up to 1 month. Just keep it stored in an airtight glass jar in the fridge.

a jar of atchara on a counter top

Looking for More Filipino Recipes?

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close up view of a bowl of Filipino pickles

Atchara (Filipino Pickles)

This atchara recipe is made with crisp carrots and daikon, pickled in a sweet, spicy, tangy brine of vinegar, sugar, peppers, garlic, and ginger. The Filipino condiment also doubles as a refreshing side for BBQ, sandwiches, salads, and more!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Filipino

Equipment

  • Weck 20-ounce jar with lid
  • Mandoline
  • Small saucepan

Ingredients

  • ounces carrots, 5 mm thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 5 ounces daikon, 5 mm thinly sliced with a mandoline

Atchara Brine

  • 2 large garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch thick coins
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1-2 pieces Thai chilis, cut in half, can use red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, Diamond Crystal

Instructions

  • Place carrot and daikon in the clean weck jar. Set aside.
  • Add all brine ingredients to a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until the mixture begins to gently simmer. Stir until sugar dissolves then turn off heat. Once the brine is warm to the touch, transfer to the jar with the carrot and daikon.
  • Cover with lid then leave on the counter until completely cool.
    If planning to eat immediately, leave for 1 hour to quick-pickle before eating.
  • Can be made up to 1 week ahead. Refrigerate when not using.
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close up view of a bowl of Filipino pickles

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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