Monday, August 03, 2009

Atsara ( Filipino Pickled Green Papaya)

Making atsara in the Philippines (usually in the country side) is like making Kimchi in South Korea. It's a gathering especially for women. All the women in the household sponsoring the atsara event, neighbors, cousins and friends are all present, and are willingly offering their time and help.It's a very lively event because when women gathers, expect one thing, gossiping! LOL!No, don't be offended because whether you agree with me or not, this is a fact,and we women enjoys hanging out with our girlfriends sharing stories. Anyway, so much for my sidetracking. So, yeah it's a gathering, and it's usually done in bulk amounts (like buckets of shredded papaya)and during big occasions like fiestas, and everything is so manual. From shredding the papaya to cutting the ingredients and in making the decorations for the atsara are all laboriously done manually. This is one of the Filipino traditions that I truly miss :( even though my mom usually nags during this times. Hehehe!

It's been years since I had the fortune to eat atsara, and for some weird reasons,I was just craving for it. Since the main ingredient is an elusive tropical green papaya fruit, it took me years to finally have the luck on finding it, until one fine Sunday. I and the hubby took our usual weekend grocery shopping spree at our favorite cheap (yes, I'm a sucker for cheap but good eats lol) whole sale food market, and when I say cheap, I mean it. The friendly hardworking Mexican vendors offers good food with good prices that you just can't refuse, none the less complain. I mean, where can you find fresh plump tomatoes for only a buck per box?! Even Publix can't beat that! Then we went to one of the stalls that we usually frequent, and there it was the green papaya that I was longing for. The green papaya that I was hankering for years was right before my naked eyes, then my mind began to wonder on what gluttonous gastric memories I could make out from it,lol! I was seriously salivating. Since it was a rare item, the vendor somehow had it stamped with a price! The medium size green papaya cost $3 each, and of course it didn't stop me from buying it even if the hubby will give me the "look". I bought two papayas, and at last, my insatiable craving for it will be fulfilled,bwahahaha!!!


2 medium size green papaya
8 cups shredded green papaya
3 cups shredded carrots
3 cups sliced bell peppers ( optional:used different colors for a lively effect)
3 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups green onions
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup minced ginger
3 cups venigar
3 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 tsp black pepper

1. Shred the papaya in a food processor. You can also do this manually, but the food processor makes things better :)

2.Toss 3 tsp of salt in the shredded papaya and let it set for 1 to 2 hours. After 2 hours, rinse the papaya with water and squeez out all the water from it. Set aside.
3. Mix together venigar,sugar,black pepper, green onions, and ginger in a pan and simmer it under low fire until the sugar dissolves.

4. When the sugar dissolves, add in shredded carrots, bell peppers,raisins, and lastly the shredded papaya.

5. Add 3 tsp of salt and simmer it for 2 minutes.
6. Let it cool and store in an air tight containers.

The pickeld green papaya has a longer life shelf if you put it in the fridge. It's really a good condiment for just anything you eat. My personal fave is to eat it with fried rice and pan fried tofu.Gosh, I'm hungry now!


CheapAppetite said...

I didn't know you can pickle green papaya. But it's sure interesting:)

thesassytomato said...

Hey Tana,

Yeah surprisingly you can, and it's really yummy :)

Cheryl Solis said...

Wow, it makes me hungry just looking at your pictures! I love kimchi and would like to learn how to make this dish but I know we have no green papayas around! I liked the photo of the red bean cakes too, which I ate in Beijing a lot. They call them baozi,and they can be filled with anything from sweet red bean paste, shredded carrots or cabbage, or pork.
I also love to cook, and have lived in China for 3 years-back in the States now! Come check out my blog and the archived posts for stores about food, China, family, art and more! Leave comments too!