My mother once told me of her affection for Vietnamese pickles. But she is impatient in the kitchen. Unlike me, she is not eager to spend hours experimenting with new recipes with long lists of ingredients and complex preparations. This being so, I know I’ve got a good recipe when my mother is willing to mix it up multiple times. There’s no need to be scared of making these Vietnamese preserved vegetables. This recipe for sweet and sour pickles requires only 5 ingredients, no cooking, and minimal measuring–plus, it can be eaten almost immediately!*
Do Chua, Vietnamese pickled carrot and daikon, are the perfect simple pickles found in Bhan Mi. If you have ever enjoyed the classic Vietnamese Bhan Mi sandwich, these carrot and daikon refrigerator pickles are a familiar pleaser on your palette. The pickles impart an acid element, quietly balancing out other richer flavors. And different from many styles of pickles, Do Chua are not heavily salty. They are simple to prepare and a creative way to add an acetic compliment to sandwiches, buddha bowls, and grain bowls; they can also be used as a beautiful edible garnish.
*I suggest letting the pickles brine for at least 3 hours before eating. Their flavor will continue to develop in the refrigerator for 1 week. They will keep 1 month refrigerated.
**A note on daikon: Daikon is a mild white Asian radish. If it is not available in your area, you can substitute a different white radish, jicama, or parsnip.
Carrot & Daikon Sweet & Sour Refrigerator Pickles (Vietnamese Do Chua)
- 1 quart size jar or container with tight fitting lid (32 oz/950 mL)
- 3 medium size carrots
- 1 medium size daikon
- 1 teaspoon sweetener (to sprinkle on vegetables)
- 1/2 teaspoon course sea salt (to sprinkle on vegetables)
- For the brine:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, or sugar)
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1. Clean, peel (if necessary), and julienne carrots and daikon.
(Vegetables store a lot of nutrients between the skin and flesh, so if you have organic vegetables, you do not need to peel–just scrub and wash well.) (To julienne, use a knife, mandolin, or serrated vegetable peeler.)
2. Stuff quart size container half full with julienned carrots and half with julienned daikon. (Or using a measuring cup, measure out approximately 1 1/2 cup of each.)
3. Transfer julienned vegetables to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sweetener and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Using clean hands, combine well and let sit for 30 minutes.
4. With very hot soapy water, thoroughly wash and rinse quart size container in which you will store pickles.
5. In a separate mixing container, combine all brine mixture ingredients. Be sure to fully dissolve sweetener and salt.
6. After 30 minutes, a lot of water will have come out of the vegetables. Drain the liquid.
7. Squeeze the vegetable mixture with hands to release more water. Stuff vegetables into clean quart size container and pour brine mixture over vegetables. Fully submerge vegetables under brining liquid.
8. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
Enjoy in as little as 30 minutes up to one month.
Also by Robin: Vegan Overnight Oats with Srawberry & Tahini
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Photos: Robin Kurotsuchi