Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles

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Easy to make, Vietnamese Do Chua, slightly sweet pickled carrots and daikon radishes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Vietnamese Daikon Carrot Pickles

 

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.

Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles Recipe

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  • Prep time: 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.

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.

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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.

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Links:

Do chua pickles from Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

Battle of the Banh Mi, Finding, Feasting, and Making Vietnamese Sandwiches from Diane and Todd, White on Rice Couple

David Lebovitz kimchi recipe

Showing 4 of 22 Comments

  • Lynn

    thanks for the recipe. just made it. it looks so colorful and pretty! excited for future banh mi

  • Jessica

    Loved these with grilled meat and steamed rice!

  • hing

    Great recipe, thanks for the inspiration, my first time pickling anything and this was a great way to start. I must have used some older daikon, since its flavour was more aggressive than I normally like.

    One suggestion I have, is to hold off on using all the warm water, and use just enough to suit your taste, adjusting accordingly. In my batch, due to the strong daikon taste, I had to adjust with more sugar and vinegar.

    Next time I make this (very soon), I might try using rice wine vinegar instead of white vinegar and see how that comes out. Or has anyone already done so, and can report back with their findings?

  • katalia

    What jars are those? I’ve been looking for some good re-usable jars like this.

    Can’t wait to make the pickles. Banh mi is one of my favorite things because of the lightly pickled veggies.

    Will regular radishes work? My CSA has been delivering a lot of those … and I have no idea what to do with them!

    I picked up the jars at Cost Plus, here in Sacramento. If you do a Google search for “french canning jars” you’ll find other sources. As for regular radishes, my father loves to make pickled radishes, which I think you make the same way you would make pickled carrots, just choose your pickling juice. (I don’t have a recipe yet, but you can find plenty online.) If you wanted to make these Vietnamese pickles, they really do require the daikon radish, which is wonderfully mild. ~Elise

  • Debra Campbell

    Would it be possible to can these? I’ve done carrots with garlic as a side to Mexican dishes and I can them.

    You could try it, but heating the carrots and daikon as much as you would need to with a hot water bath that canning requires may change the flavor. ~Elise

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Vietnamese Daikon Carrot PicklesVietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles