Atjar Tjampoer

The first item we're going to prepare for the rijsttafel is an atjar. A sweet and sour pickled vegetable dish, it's served as an accompaniment with the rijsttafel. The sourness will cut through some of the richer dishes, and the sweetness will offset some of the spicier ones. Atjar tjampoer, a pickled combination of a variety of vegetables, is best after it sits for several days. The flavoring and coloring comes from turmeric, a much used spice in the Indonesian kitchen.  

Cut your veggies small, and blanch them quickly, so they remain in shape and keep a bit of bite. A nice crunch is perfect to balance out the softer and creamier foods on the menu!

As turmeric is not necessarily a spice that we use often in our own kitchens, make sure that what you have on the spice rack is not past its date, or too old. As you only need a little bit, it might be worth purchasing a little bit from the bulk spice bins in specialty stores to ensure a good flavor and bright coloring.

Atjar Tjampoer
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 carrot
1 cucumber
1 medium sized yellow onion
1 cup bean sprouts
¼ green cabbage
2 cups white wine vinegar
2 cups  water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
2 teaspoons turmeric

Wash and cut the cauliflower into smaller florets. Blanch them in boiling, salted water for a few minutes. Peel the carrot and slice thinly. Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with the tip of a spoon. Peel the onion, slice in four quarters and cut into thin slices. Wash the bean sprouts and remove any brown skins or soft ends. Slice the cabbage into thin strips, removing the hard vein.
Bring the vinegar and water to a boil and stir in the sugar, the sambal, the ginger, coriander and turmeric. Add the vegetables and leave the mixture on a rolling boil for a few minutes, making sure you stir the vegetables well.
Strain the vegetables from the liquid and pack them in a clean, sterilized canning jar (depending on how small you cut the vegetables, you may need more than one jar). Pour the boiling liquid over the vegetables, making sure all vegetables are covered and there are no air bubbles in the jar. Screw a clean lid on the jar. Let it cool on the counter for two hours, then move it to the refrigerator. The atjar is best after three or four days, but will not hold indefinitely.


  1. Hello!

    I have featured you as part of the Illuminating Blog Awards over at Food Stories.

    Tickateeboo xx

  2. I have only tasted this in jar form but even then it was yummy!

  3. It will NOT hold, or it WILL hold indefinitely? We love this stuff and can't find it here. So, I would love to make a few jars if it will last... thanks!

    1. It will not hold indefinitely - just make sure you keep the jars refrigerated, even if you choose to can them. They usually don't sit around long enough to spoil though!


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