Last December 2009, yep, yep, last Christmas season, I accompanied my grandma to her cousin’s house in Project 6, Quezon City. Inside Tita Cora’s house, I noticed that several bottles of pickled green papaya, carrots, raisins, plus ampalaya stripped were neatly organized atop of a table; yes it’s “atchara”. Other bottles, that size of small ladies choice bottle, were already inside a box seemingly ready to be delivered. Curiosity, curiosity… I asked Tita Cora if those atcharas are for Christmas give-away or Christmas gift. She replied, yes, but those were sales order from friends, officemates, friend’s friends and acquaintances.
And based from our conversation, Tita Cora is making atchara and is now part of her business portfolio aside from realty and others. She only started it as small token and gift to her friends but later on those who’ve tasted it crave for more. So there, the idea of turning this hobby of making atchara into a business sparked. Consequently, after that good taste feedback she started the business of selling atchara. She acquired permits and even registered the name for protection. And yes, BFAR accreditation too, because it’s bottled food. She is now 3 years in the business of doing atchara and she plan to push it more to the extent of putting those at the groceries store, mall or even exporting. Kinda big dream ha but I like the idea. However, she is still in the process of mixing the ingredients and even sought the help of an expert friend in prolonging the shelf life of atchara just like sardines. Anyhow, I’ve tasted her atchara and there’s no way korean kimchi will match the taste. She did not divulge the secret to her atchara however. I guess it’s a trade secret, well :-). Never the less, here is a simple atchara recipe that you may want to try.
3 to 4 lbs green papaya, julienned
2 medium sized carrots, julienned
1 large onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp whole peppercorn
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 knob ginger, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup salt (to dehydrate papaya)
1 1/2 tsp salt (for the brine or syrup)
2 cups white vinegar
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 small boxes raisins