Pickled Daikon and Carrot: Eating Vietnam

by Karen on Friday, July 23, 2010

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Do chua (literally translated as “sour stuff”) is pickled daikon and carrot and served alongside all kinds of grilled meats or topped on banh mi.  It's bright colors and sweet tartness is a perfect contrast to the strong meaty flavors in banh mi.  This preparation of pickling takes very little time and your do chua will keep in a jar for up to 4 weeks.  When picking out daikon, look for firm ones without blemishes and get ones that are between 1 inch to 2 inches in thickness.  Any thicker than 2 inches and the daikon tends to be spicy.
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Note: Daikon can take on a strong odor as it sits in the jar, but is not an indicator of rotten do chua.  The odor will dissipate after it's left out for a while.

– 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
– 1 lb daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
– 2 teaspoons of salt
– 2 teaspoons of sugar plus 1/2 cup of sugar
– 1 1/4 cups of distilled white vinegar
– 1 cup of hot water

In a bowl, place the carrots and daikon and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar over them.  Using a soft kneading action with your hand, knead the carrots and daikon for a few minutes until you see a pool of liquid at the bottom of the bowl.  You will know you're done when you can take a stick of daikon and bend it so both ends meet without breaking the daikon.  Drain the vegetables in a colander and rinse them under cold water and gently press the rest of the water out.

In a bowl, combine the hot water, vinegar, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt and add the vegetables and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  The brine should cover the vegetables.  Let the vegetables marinate at least 1 hour before eating.  Transfer to a jar if you will be storing it.

(Recipe adapted from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors)



Jeff August 3, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Ok, so I came home in a rush and made these in like 10 minutes using your directions. They turned out awesome. The carrots are a little harder than the radishes so I think next time I’m going to either cut them smaller or soak them longer. And you’re right, when you first open the jar of pickles they kick you in the nose, but I remembered how you said to just let the smell dissipate and sure enough the smell was gone in no time! Thanks!

Karen August 3, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Yes they’re super simple to make!! It’s a bit tricky cutting thick matchsticks into even sizes. You can also leave the salt and sugar mixture on longer and knead a bit longer to make the carrots more pliable.

Andrew June 30, 2011 at 7:49 am

Just made these last night to put on some homemade Banh Mi sandwiches. Added chopped up jalapenos into the mix and it worked great; now I’ve got a large jar of pickled goodness in my fridge. Thanks!

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