artem a bawang, young garlic pickled in ilocos (cane) vinegar

Pickled young garlic and chili in cane vinegar.
We relish artem or inartem (pickles, pickled), and we fancy pickling, fermenting almost anything in vinegar to freeze the freshness and succulence of fruits and veggies: the usual cool cucumber, carrots, green papayas, onions, chilis, bell peppers, even young string beans. We especially love pickled hot chilis, fermented in suka ti basi (Ilocos cane vinegar from the famous basi [actually sour/soured basi], akin to the beloved pinakurat of the Visayans, from their tuba), for our dips. And Ilokanos particularly make fine artem out of green garlic come garlic season in the Ilocos where young garlic is abundant in the market. Ilokanos prize naganus a bawang for a special dinengdeng or pinakbet a bawang, and as an added spice in their vegetable dishes. And the rest of it find their way into artem.

I tried it myself one bawang season when I got some freshly uprooted bawang being sold in Cagayan (the vendor said it came right from Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte):

Luckily, I still got some suka ti basi, which I bought a year ago in a roadside bawang-lasona-suka-basi stall in Pinili, Ilocos Norte--which means this suka is kind of "aged":

Preparing the bawang, cut, with the hot chili ready, then bottled it in suka, seasoned with salt, black peppers, some brown sugar to sweeten it a bit, and I added some young lasona just for the heck of it:

And there, I have two-jarfuls and a bottle of artem a bawang:

I set aside my artem in a cool, dry, place to ferment. After about two weeks, here's it, the great Ilokano suka has done its chemical magic--it turned the bawang and the chili into a great spice, the bawang is still crisp and crunchy and succulent, its tang and zest intact in its now sour-sweet state:

Really perfect sawsawan and spice for almost everything edible. I dream of it drenched in my pinapaitan, in my grilled and fried fish and meat, in my barbecues, or simply in my pinakbets and dinengdengs:

Meanwhile, let me try it in this fried tuyo:

Man, it's just so insanely good!



  1. wow this sure looks good hmmm i'm going to try this with tinapa! thank you for sharing your "pickled young garlic and chili in cane vinegar" recipe! :)

  2. what kind of hot chili's are those?