The pickled green papaya recipe below is adapted from the book Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.
Yield: Approx. 8 cups, depending on papaya size
Prep Time: 3 days (includes marinating overnight twice)
Ingredients for the pickling mix:
- 4 c. rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
Ingredients for the salad:
- 1 1/2 lb. grated green papaya
- 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 3 carrots, peeled and grated
- 3 red or green long chile peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 Maui onions, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
Method: In a nonreactive saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, 1 Tbsp. salt, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the black pepper and cool to room temperature; cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a large, nonreactive bowl, toss papaya with the remaining salt, carrots, onions and peppers. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, place half the papaya mixture in a cheesecloth-lined strainer and rinse under running water. Squeeze to remove excess moisture. Place into a clean bowl and repeat with the rest of the papaya mixture. Toss in a clean bowl with vinegar mixture, to taste. Refrigerate overnight, and enjoy the next day.
Achara keeps for up to 6 months in jars in the refrigerator. I also use it as a relish on sandwiches, or add it to lettuce wraps. The extra vinegar mixture can be used as a base in marinades, salad dressings, or as a lumpia (fried spring roll) dip.