Acharu is a term that is strictly speaking, referring to a form of pickling. In Sri Lanka, acharu is typically used to prepare carrots, onion and chillies using mustard seeds, garlic, ginger and vinegar to mention but a few ingredients.
I’m not sure how the term came to be used for this dish and can only assume that the use of salt and chilli, being a form of preserving, is what led to it being called a pineapple acharu. The dish does taste better after a few days so storing for a later date is definitely an option.
This, is one of my vices and I can quite happily devour a whole bowl of pineapple acharu, to the detriment of my tongue (the acid levels in raw pineapple is pretty zingy in the mouth!)
As with most Sri Lankan dishes, this has a plethora of variations. Here I have recorded my most favourite version of the dish. Perfect as a snack, to take along on picnics or even as a dessert this is really simple, quick and easy to make and offers a taste sensation that is both refreshing and zingy!
Let’s Get Preparing..
Serves – 2 -3 if using half a pineapple
Preparation Time – 10 minutes
1 fresh slightly green Pineapple (tinned pineapple just won’t do for this recipe)
1 tsp chilli flakes or chilli powder
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Time to get Preparing – Remove outer skin and core of pineapple (can keep the core for your juicer/blender if you make your own juices) and cut into bite size pieces. Place in a bowl and mix in the chilli flakes or powder, salt, pepper. Stir well to ensure all pieces are covered evenly with the mixture.
Optional but Super Tasty - 1)Some like to add 1tsp sugar into the mix (I personally don’t as the more sour the better for me, but you may like to try it). 2)You can grind all the spices in a pestle and mortar with a little water, turning it into a paste, before mixing it in with your pineapple. 3) You can substitute the pineapple for a variety of fruits including mango (makes my mouth water just thinking about it and again though I love it when the mango is still pretty raw, it can be done with riper fruits too) Guava or even olives.
Top Tips – 1)When buying your pineapple, check the base. If it is firm and green then you’ve got a good one. If it is soft to the touch and brownish in colour it has gone past its best before value. 2) As I like my pineapple acharu quite sour, I go for very green pineapples however if you prefer a more distinct sweet and spicy flavour, go for riper fruit. 3)Most importantly - Keep pineapple away from elephants!! They LOVE them and have been known to destroy cars to get at the pineapple inside (happened at Yala Safari Park once when we were staying there – not our car I hasten to add!)