Malay Pickle

Malay Pickle is the Muslim version of a Sinhala Achaaru but it’s base is a thick sweet and sour paste made using dates,vinegar and spices.Later mixed with fresh red onions, green chillies, capsicums or sliced carrots and beetroot

Some even add Cucumbers,Sliced Ginger and Preserved Garlic

Originates from the Malay Community and we love this !!!

This Achaar Gravy has a very distinctive flavour because of all the strong and powerful components combined in it like the texture and flavours of vinegar(pungent),sugar(sweetness)and spices(heat)

This side dish is very popular in Festive Menus such as the KIDU and is most often underrated because of its humble ingredients


However I think that this explosion of colour and flavour cannot be replaced by anything else and only those who have tried this can relate to the gastronomic charm

I have never been too fond of this dish till my beautiful friend Shafra sent me a sample of the Malay Pickle Gravy she made for her sister when travelling back to the U.S It was lip smacking good and her version is pretty easy too, no cooking involved. Don’t forget to check out her page and show some love and support

In my family my eldest sis is the one who makes this particular dish,she learnt it from my mom : so I had a chat with her and figured out the detailed recipe with some research from a few known aunties in the family.Recently when I attended a cookery class at Sharmilas Cookery Academy I learnt useful tips and tricks which I wanted to add along with the recipe

This Pickle has a long shelf life and if stored properly in an airtight glass jar, and away from moisture in room temperature or even in refrigerator, this does not expire for at least a year or so.

Let’s Get Started

You Will Need

  • 150 ml White Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Ground Mustard Powder mixed with 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Kashmir Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper Powder
  • 150g Pitted Dates or 150 ml Dates Syrup
  • 100g Jaggery
  • 100g Brown Sugar
  • Lime Juice of one lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Crushed Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Crushed Ginger
  • 50g Lime Pickle or Mango Pickle
  • 200g Red Onions
  • 100g Capsicums
  • 50g Green Chillies slit in the middle
  • 100g Sliced Carrots and Beetroot (optional)

Avoid using any other kind of strong vinegar like the Toddy Vinegar because it has an unpleasant after taste

Adding Carrots and Beetroot is completely optional but I love my carrots in Malay Pickle,however today I had no stock of both these veggies so I used what was available

Pop these ingredients into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste
Vinegar,Half of the Dates,Jaggery, Kashmir Chilli Powder,Pepper,Mustard,Garlic,Ginger and Lime Juice

Blend everything together and pulse in between if you’re looking at a super smooth paste

I preferred a smooth paste but still wanted a bit of texture so didn’t blend for too long

For the quick and easy way, you can just transfer this into a sterile jar and store in the refrigerator to be used when needed but if you want longer shelf life, continue with the following method

Transfer this into a clay pot because of the acidity I would recommend anything but Aluminium

Add half of the dates you set aside when blending the paste.This extra step is a personal preference but this is how do it in our family.Some even add Tomato sauce instead of sugar but I’m not too sure if that’s really the right thing, I mean I’m not judging but that takes away the originality of this dish eh?

Keep this on moderate heat and keep stirring till it warms to the right temperature and do not leave this on the stove unattended because it takes less than a minute or two to warm up and we do not want to over heat this Achaar Gravy

If you cook for too long,the mustard will create a bitter flavour in the Mixture

Do not bring to a boil but an almost boil and switch off the flame

When you notice it bubbling on the edges or the middle,you know it’s time to remove from fire

Once it is cooled down, store in a cool dry place and cover with a kitchen towel or foil it.

Colour deepens as it gets older and the taste gets better over time too

If stored properly in an airtight glass container without any moisture,this mixture will not expire for at least one year.Ideally I would separate into 4 or 5 smaller portions than leave it in one big jar,because that way even if you experience a rancid encounter due to an moisture accident maybe in one of the portions, you won’t have to chuck the whole thing a way !!!

Let’s Assemble

Fry the Lime Pickle and Mango Pickle in oil and chop them into small bits

Blanch the small red onions and capsicums in vinegar before use

For Blanching

Heat 1/4 Cup Vinegar in a pan till it’s boiling

Drop in your red onions and capsicums,ideally you should blanch each veggie separately because each veg blanching timing can vary.However I threw them both in together as I was only using a small quantity so incase you’re doing a larger batch,keep this in mind.

The red onions turn pink and you know they’re done and ready to remove from the vinegar,takes less than a minute

Doing this extra step will prevent your dish from getting watery when left outside for too long according to what I learnt at Shamila’s Cookery Academy Srilanka

Another important thing to remember when assembling the Malay Pickle with the blanched veggies is to avoid wastage.Use only what you may need,do not blanch extras because once you assemble with the onions,capsicums etc,you must consume this mixture within 4-5 days.

Add in blanched red onions,capsicums and fried pickle

This dish is a rice puller and having this on the table will certainly make everything taste better I promise !!!

It pairs with most Srilankan Festive Meals like I mentioned earlier

Check out my Instagram Page for more cooking Inspiration and watch how I plated my signature KIDU Rice Meal !!


There are over 7 recipes that I have shared along with the assembling of the KIDU in a REEL on my page

Would love to see your remakes in this absolutely amazing dish.Be sure to tag me or send me a screenshot if your account is private so I can reshare it on my stories

Much Love ?? Nuzrath

#srilankanfoodie #mylankanfoodjournal #foodblog #colombofoodbloggeirs #colombolife #instadaily #bekind #begrateful #kidurice #mangocurry #sweetandsour #homemadewithlove #riceandcurry #riceandcurrysrilanka #mangosweetandsour #kiducurry #malaypickle #sweetsourspicy #redonions #capsicums #dates #jaggery #kithuljaggery