Aling Lucila “Lucy”Payawal who is in her mid-70’s is known for her famous achara/atsara/atchara and kalamay sa latik native recipes.
Aling or Tita Lucila ” Lucy” Paywal
Aling Lucila ” Lucy” Payawal brother is the father of Mr. Edward Payawal who is the proprietor of Thumbs Up restaurant, while the mother of Ms. Kat Garcia( wife of Sir Ervin Garcia) is the sister of Aling Lucy who hails from the Payawal clan.
According to Sir Lebon Ong and some local food historian, local atchara/achara / atsara was originally an Indian pickle dish with an alternate spelling called “achaar”. These are from pickled vegetables or fruits. Similar pickled vegetable are also found in neighboring southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Also called ” Acar” or ” Atjar, in Dutch.
Vegetables or fruits are finely chopped and marinated in brine or edible oils along with different Indian spices and food coloring.
atsara/ atchara/ achara
But the Philippine version is a hybrid of both Indian and Southeast Asian, minus the spiciness but with stronger vinegar and adding achuete/atsuete/ annatto as coloring.
atsara/ achara/ atchara
Since the late Spanish and American administration, San Miguel town is already popular for her achara/ atsara/ atchara, preserve minamis na santol and dayap, kalamay, pastillas de leche. These are normally serve on special occasions like fiesta, birthdays or visiting tourists.
Ms. Cristina Gonzales – a local atsara/ achara/ atchara, kakanin maker and seller from San Miguel, Bulacan together with Architect Ervin Garcia
I would remember that my dad would always bring locally made achara / atsara from San Miguel. The atsara / achara from the town taste milder and the papaya is grated finely compared to the ones being sold within Metro Manila.
In some parts of the country the ingredients may vary depending on the availability, some may use jicama,picama/singkamas , cucumber (pipino ), slices of ginger, onions or shallots ( sibuyas tagalog).
Aling Lucila Payawal
She also does her pickled papaya and creates Kalamay sa latik (sweet glutinous sticky rice) with latik.
This start with choosing the right ingredients since not all varieties of papaya can be use for making achara/ atsara. Sir Lebon Ong shared that the preferred ones are called ” susong matanda” papaya, These papayas are elongated shaped like breast of an old woman, hence the local common name.
Aling Lucy Pawayal folding the cheese cloth with grated green papaya
She also uses cheese cloth/ katsa, grater, sweet green syrup, carrots, raisins, onions, red bell pepper.
She is also careful in handling the young papaya. She would soak them in water with salt to minimize the papaya getting brown and make her hands itchy.
She also uses a small amount of alum power (tawas) just before squeezing the water content. She does heirloom recipes that is worth sharing and publishing in recipe books.
bottled atchara/ atsara/ achara made by Aling Lucy Payawal
Aling Lucy Payawal special heirloom atsara/ atchara/ achara is available at Arki’s Grill and Thumbs Up restaurant and upon reservation.
Phone no: 09158653540
Contact Person: Mr. Edward Payawal
Contact Persons: Sir Ervin or Mrs. Kat Garcia
Phone no. 0935 889 1003
Personal interview with Aling Lucilla ” Lucy ” Pawayal, Ms. Cristina Gonzales, Sir Lebon Ong.