It seems like every culture in Asia, has their way to quickly pickle different vegetables. In Japan, pickled cucumbers or tsukemono are a staple. In Korea, its kimchi. Indonesia has achar and Vietnam has do chua. Do chua, or pickled carrots and daikon radish, is a very popular condiment that you will find in most Vietnamese restaurants. Besides being synonymous with banh mi sandwiches, do chua goes great with pork, beef, chicken, spring rolls and more. Then again, I’ll also just pull the jar out of the fridge and eat it by itself. It’s that good!
And, it’s very easy to make. Just take some carrots and a daikon radish, peel and julienne to matchstick size, put in a jar with some water, rice vinegar, sugar and salt and you’re all done! The salt and water provides the brine to preserve the pickles for a few weeks, and the rice vinegar and sugar help to provide that right balance of flavors with acidity and sweetness.
Now, just a few thoughts on daikon radish. Larger radishes tend to have a hotter, more bitter taste than medium-sized radishes. Also, if you haven’t prepared daikon radishes before, they can have a pungent aroma to them. There’s nothing to worry about there, and it doesn’t mean that they’ve gone bad. Daikon radishes simply have a high level of sulfur compounds, which is most noticeable when they’re pickled or kept in the fridge for a bit. One way to reduce the odor ahead of time would be to wash the julienne daikon a couple times in salt water. However, that will also wash away some of the flavor, so there is a trade off.
Vietnamese Pickled Carrots & Daikon (Do Chau)
Makes about 1 quart
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1 cup daikon radish, peeled and julienned
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- Julienne the carrots, cutting into match stick size pieces about 2-3 inches long by 1/8-inch. Alternatively, you can use a julienne peeler to quickly peel the carrots and daikon radish. Pack the julienned carrots and daikon in a glass mason jar or other glass container.
- In a medium bowl, mix the water, rice vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Pour over the carrots and daikon until fully covered.
- Let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but ideally 24 hours before serving. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.