Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles

You know when you learn how to make something new, and it’s so good, and so easy to make, that you think back with regret to all the years you’ve lived without knowing how to do this thing? That’s how I feel about these Vietnamese daikon and carrot refrigerator pickles, also known as “do chua”. The pickles are traditionally served on Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. They’re a little like bread and butter pickles, though crispier, not as sweet, and with a slight radish taste from the daikon. If you are unfamiliar with daikon radishes, they are very large, long (over a foot), white, mild radishes. Pickled daikon, sliced crosswise, are often served with your food at Japanese restaurants.

These pickles are not cooked, so they are refrigerator pickles, not “canned” pickles. I’m told they’ll last for over a month, but we’ve been eating them right out of the jar so I’m rather doubtful they’ll last more than a week in this house.

  • Prep: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes approximately 5 pints.

For a lower glycemic option, you can substitute the 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of agave syrup.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots (about 5 medium sized carrots), peeled
  • 2 pounds of daikon radishes (about 2 large daikon), peeled
  • 1 cup plus 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water (warm enough to easily dissolve sugar)
  • About 5 pint jars

Method

1 Julienne the carrots and the daikon radishes. Cut them first crosswise into 2 1/2 inch long segments. Then cut 1/4-inch thick slices lengthwise. Stack the slices and cut them again into 1/4-inch thick batons.

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2 Place the carrots and daikon radishes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 4 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Use your clean hands to toss the carrots and daikon with the salt and sugar until well coated. Continue to mix the carrots and daikon with your hands until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. They are ready once you can bend a piece of daikon all the way over without it breaking.

3 Transfer the carrots and daikon to a colander, rinse with cool water and drain well.

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4 In a bowl (a 8 cup pyrex measuring cup works great for this) mix together one cup of sugar, the white vinegar and the warm water, until the sugar dissolves.

5 Prepare clean jars. Pack the daikon and carrots tightly into the jars. Pour over the pickling liquid to cover. Seal. Refrigerate.

The pickles should sit at least overnight before eating; their flavor will improve with time. They should last 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Traditionally served in Vietnamese street sandwiches called Banh Mi. These pickles would be great with anything that would typically be served with coleslaw or sauerkraut, like hot dogs, or barbecued pork, or even with salad or wrapped into a spring roll. Or just eat them straight.

Main Ingredients

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