Atjar Tjampoer (Indonesian pickle)

Name: Georgia (Smith) Regnault 
Class Year: 1964
Country of Residence: The Netherlands

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Two years ago, our MHC alumnae group in the Netherlands got together for an Indonesian lunch. I originally thought we would just meet and eat take away, which is very popular in the Netherlands.  However, it soon became clear that our gathering would be a cooking workshop for us in preparing Indonesian dishes. 

I boldly offered to make “Atjar Tjampoer”, which is a sort of Indonesian ‘coleslaw’. Having never made it before, I took the simple way out and ordered the cabbage and carrots to be shredded by my local greengrocer. But when I went to pick them up, I realized that I had ordered enough to feed an army. Since I don’t like to waste, I made the Atjar ahead of time so that I could fill small pots for the participants to take some home.  Needless to say, all the fellow alumnae were delighted with the gift.

Ever since then I will never buy “Atjar” again off the shelf.  This homemade version is so much tastier!  It keeps (almost) forever in the fridge and it doesn’t have to be eaten with only Indonesian food.

Atjar Tjampoer

Makes 12 small jars. Takes approx. 1 hour.


4 cups shredded white cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
3 cups bean sprouts
3 green spring onions
½ cucumber
½ green pepper
2 tbsp crushed garlic
3 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp Sambal Oelek (Indonesian chili paste – can be bought in small jars in Asian foodstores
or supermarkets)
3 tsp grated ginger or ginger powder
1 ½ cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt


Atjar Tjampoer very popular and ubiquitous in Indonesia. It is a cold mixed pickled vegetable dish and is a good condiment with spicy dishes. Because it is best if the ingredients have time to blend together and cool off, it must be prepared in advance.

  1. Shred the cabbage and the carrots, cut up the green onions and pepper.
  2. Cut the cucumber in half, take the seeds out and cut in small pieces.
  3. Boil the water in a large pot, add a pinch of salt. When boiling, add cabbage and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Take cabbage and carrots out and drain in a strainer.
  5. Add bean sprouts to water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain in same strainer.
  6. Then add green onions, pepper and cucumber to the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Strain and add to the other vegetables.
  7. Fry the Sambal Oelek with the garlic, turmeric and ginger for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and then stir until sugar is dissolved. Add all the vegetables together and slightly boil for 2 minutes.
  8. Put the hot vegetables in (sterilized) jars, screw lids on and turn them upside down until fully cooled. The jars can be kept up to a year in a dark place to retain the color.

Atjar Tjampoer


Traditional Indonesian recipe. This is a version found on the internet.

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