To prepare the vegetables:Quarter the cucumbers lengthwise and discard the seeds. Peel the carrots. Then, cut the cucumbers, carrots, cabbage and long beans into 3cm lengths, all similar thickness as the long beans. Marinate the cucumbers and carrots with a teaspoon of salt each and leave aside for 30 minutes. In one bowl, add 60ml of rice vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the cucumbers and leave to pickle overnight.
Repeat the same for the carrots. Blanch the cabbage and long beans in a pot of boiling water for a minute. Drain and marinate the cabbage and long beans with 2 teaspoons of salt and leave aside for 30 minutes. Add 120ml of rice vinegar and 4 tablespoons of sugar to the cabbage and long beans and leave to pickle overnight.
To prepare the spice paste: Grind together the candlenuts, shallots, garlic, turmeric, galangal, shrimp paste and dried chillies.
To prepare the acar: Heat the oil in a wok and fry the spice paste until fragrant. Add in all the pickled vegetables together with their marinade into the wok. Turn off the heat. Stir in 250ml of vinegar and add salt and sugar to taste. Refrigerate the acar overnight to let the flavour of the spice paste develop. Garnish the acar with the sesame seeds and ground peanuts before serving.
Tip: You can also add pineapples, green mangoes or green papaya to make it your own acar recipe. The secret to good acar nyonya is well-portioned vinegar and sugar in the spice mixture. Making sure the vegetables are as dry as possible (use a muslin cloth to wring them dry) is also key to bring the crunchy taste of the vegetables.