Acar Timun are classic Indonesian Pickles, which you can easily make at home.
Also known as Acar Ketimun, Indonesian Cucumber Pickles are delightfully spicy, crunchy and sweet.
The dish is typically served as a condiment or cold salad alongside traditional Indonesian dishes like fried rice, noodles or satay.
This refreshing Southeast Asian pickle recipe features flavourful ingredients like thinly sliced cucumbers, shallots, spicy chili, sugar, salt and rice vinegar.
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What Is Acar Timun?
Acar Timun is a popular condiment in Indonesian cuisine. It is sometimes also served as a salad.
Acar is a type of vegetable pickle found in Southeast Asia, most prevalent in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. It is a localised version of Indian Achar. It is known as Atjar in Dutch cuisine, derived from Indonesian acar.
The vegan and vegetarian friendly dish typically features an assortment of fresh vegetables like cucumber, shallots, chili and carrots. They quick pickle in a brine made of rice vinegar, sugar and salt.
At restaurants in Indonesia you’ll find a variety of Acar Timun interpretations. A variation called Acar Ketimun is our favourite, which omits carrots to focus on showcasing the refreshing flavour and crunchy texture of cucumbers, shallots and chili.
If you’re wondering how to make Acar Timun, today is your lucky day!
Travel to Indonesia by Making Acar Timun at Home
I love traveling to Asia.
My first visit on the continent had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, The Maldives, India and Malaysia.
In 2008 I spent 2 months backpacking through Indonesia, adventuring through Yogyakarta, Borobodur, Gunung Bromo, Gili Trawangan, and Bali. I fell so head over heels in love with Bali that years later I returned as a food and travel journalist to write the ultimate Bali Honeymoon Guide.
I dined at some of Indonesia’s best restaurants while exploring Bali’s Best Hotels & Resorts and fancy Bali Cocktail Bars. I was on the hunt to sample the must-try tastes of Bali, such as Babi Guling, Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng, Lawar, Satay, and Nasi Ayam Campur. Many of these traditional Indonesian dishes served in Bali are accompanied by the popular condiment Acar Timun.
I became a fan of Acar Ketimun as I’ve always had a penchant for crunchy cucumber pickles. The slight sweet and spicy flavour offers a refreshing contrast when eating hearty fried dishes or grilled meats.
If you’ve traveled to Indonesia and fallen in love with Acar Timun it’s easy to recreate the dish at home by making this simple Acar recipe.
Where To Eat Traditional Acar Ketimun
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to local Southeast Asian restaurants that serves their own Acar recipe.
Haven’t traveled to Indonesia before? It may be helpful to first sample Acar Timun at a local Indonesian or Malaysian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can determine the perfect spicy heat level, proportion of cucumbers to shallots and the ideal dishes to serve at the table.
In Toronto, popular Indonesian and Malaysian restaurants that may serve a traditional Acar Ketimun recipe include Borrel Restaurant, Little Sister, Soos, Gourmet Malaysia, Restoran Malaysia and NaiNai.
My Family Loves Acar Timun Indonesian Pickles
My family has a tradition of eating soup and salad for lunch on Sunday’s after getting home from church. Soup is such an simple and brainless meal to serve a busy family with kids.
My dad would often make cream of tomato soup and serve a bowl with grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles. We’d always have two large jars of pickles in the fridge: intensely garlicky dill pickles and sweet and snappy Bread & Butter Pickles.
After returning from my first trip to Southeast Asia I was keen to share my love for Acar Timun with friends and family. I had taken a cooking class in Indonesia and was amazed at how quick & easy it is to make cucumber pickles at home.
Since my family can’t handle a lot of spicy heat I only added a small amount of chili and removed the seeds. They really loved the combination of thinly sliced cucumbers and finely chopped shallots.
You can make these Indonesian Pickles in around an hour. The condiment is very easy to make you just have to chop up the vegetables, toss them in the brine and let them sit in the fridge for an hour to take on the sweet and salty flavour of the vinegar.
We now like to get creative with this Acar recipe by adding in any leftover vegetables loitering in the fridge. We find crunchy vegetables like carrots, radish, cauliflower and even asparagus make a delicious Acar Timun.
Acar Timun Recipe Health Benefits
Our Indonesian Pickles recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Shallots are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Cucumbers are low in calories and high in water content so are great at hydrating the body. To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fibre, as well as certain vitamins and minerals.
Chili has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss.
Homemade Acar Timun Recipe Cooking Tips
This healthy Acar Ketimun recipe is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time pickle makers!
- We’ve used rice wine vinegar in this recipe but in a pinch you can use a combination of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar.
- We’ve used white sugar in this recipe but you can substitute for palm sugar or brown sugar if you prefer.
- We’ve used an English cucumber in this recipe but you can substitue for Persian cucumber if you like.
- We suggest using a mandolin to make the cucumbers very thin but you can cut the vegetables in this Acar recipe thicker if you prefer or even dice them.
- Traditional Acar Ketimun uses shallots but you can substitute with sweet vidalia onion.
- We’ve used a combination of green and red chili but since my family can’t handle a lot of heat we only use one of each. If you like spicy food feel free to add as many chopped up chilies as you’d like.
What To Serve with Acar Ketimun
Indonesian Pickles can be served as a condiment or salad. When a craving hits, we also like to snack on them all on their own as they’re crunchy, sweet and spicy.
Acar Timun is typically served as a condiment on the table with Indonesian dishes like Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng, Satay, and Nasi Ayam Campur. The acidity and sweetness of Indonesian Pickles pairs perfectly with heavy stir-fried, deep-fried and meat-centric dishes.
We also like to serve this Acar Ketimun recipe with Malaysian and Singaporean dishes like Penang Prawn Noodle Soup Hokkien Mee, Roti Canai, Seafood Laksa, Bak Chor Mee, and Rojak.
You May Also Enjoy These Cucumber Recipes...
- Chinese Cucumber Salad
- Mizeria Polish Cucumber Salad
- Jajik Cucumber Yogurt Mint Salad
- Mexican Cucumber Radish Salad with Chipotle Peanuts
- Egyptian Salata Baladi
- Cucumber Gin and Tonic Cocktail
Storing Acar Timun
If you have leftover Indonesian Pickles you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container or mason jar for 4-6 days.
They’ll stay crunchy for about a week. They are still fine to eat after that but lose their desired texture so eat them up quickly.
How To Make Homemade Indonesian Cucumber Pickles
Acar Timun Indonesian Cucumber Pickles
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- mixing bowl
- French knife
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 100 ml Rice Vinegar
- 100 g White Sugar
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/3 Cucumber thinly sliced
- 3 Shallots peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 Green Chilli deseeded, thinly sliced
- 1 Bird's Eye Chili deseeded, thinly sliced
- To make the pickling liquid, mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl.
- Slice the cucumber using a mandolin. Add the sliced cucumber, shallots and chili to the pickling liquid and stir together. Set aside for 1 hour for the ingredients to pickle.
- Once ready to serve, drain the liquid from the pickle and serve.
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