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Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles

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

Vietnamese Daikon Carrot Pickles for Banh Mi
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 Carrot Daikon Pickles Do Chua
Elise Bauer

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

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Yields 5 pints
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. 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

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.

    cut carrots and daikon for vietnamese pickles
    Elise Bauer
  2. Massage with salt and sugar:

    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.

    massage sugar and salt into carrots and daikon for vietnamese do chua pickles
    Elise Bauer

    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.

    when you can bend the daikon or carrot, the vegetables are ready to pickle for vietnamese pickles
    Elise Bauer
  3. Rinse:

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

    rinsing carrots and daikon for vietnamese pickles for banh mi sandwiches
    Elise Bauer
  4. Make vinegar sugar mixture:

    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. Pour vinegar mixture over carrots and daikon in jars:

    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.

    pouring pickling liquid over carrots and daikon for do chua vietnamese pickles
    Elise Bauer

Links:

David Lebovitz kimchi recipe