Are you getting sick of me talking about Suncoast Organics yet? I hope not, because I’m going to talk about them again. This week I got the prettiest rainbow-colored carrots in my goodie box. Another “first” for me. I’d seen pictures of them in cookbooks and magazines, but never, ever found them in any market around here. I wanted to use them in a way that would really show off their pretty colors. That meant cooking them was out. Since my Wickled Okra was such a success, I decided to pickle the carrots as well.
One of my favorite restaurants here in town is a casual, little Vietnamese place called Pho Cali. As you can probably guess from the name, they have awesome pho. But, they also have awesome everything else too. Alongside every delectable dish they serve is a sweetly zesty pickled carrot and daikon radish medley called do chua. It’s the first thing I go for on the plate. I sometimes have to fight Mr. SGCC for it. But, I’m the fastest fork in the East, so I usually win. I love me some do chua!
Instead of making a traditional pickle with my rainbow carrots, I channeled my inner Asian and made some do chua. Luckily, I still had some daikons left over from last week’s veggie box from you know who.
Do chua is so incredibly easy to make. Since it is a “fresh” pickle, there is no boiling or cooking involved. All you do is julienne the carrots and daikon, and soak them in a brine made with white vinegar, rice wine vinegar, a little water, sugar and a pinch of salt. That’s it! Plus, the pickles only need to marinate in their brine for about an hour before they’re ready to devour.
The recipe I used is from a cookbook called Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors, by Andrea Nguyen. If you like Vietnamese food, you should definitely check it out. Even if you only like to eat Vietnamese food in restaurants, you should still check it out because it’s a beautiful book. Andrea also writes the excellent blogs, Viet World Kitchen and Asian Dumpling Tips. I’ve tried several of her recipes and they always turn out great, especially her dumplings. She is a dumplings rock star!
Do chua will keep for weeks in the fridge, so you might as well make a lot. These little guys tend to disappear pretty quickly!
Do Chua (Vietnamese Carrot and Daikon Pickle)
liberally adapted from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
1 pound daikon radishes, each no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and julienned
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
Place the carrot and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Use your hands to knead the vegetables for a few minutes. They will soften and release their liquid. They should lose about 1/4 of their volume. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel any extra water. Divide the vegetables among some pretty jars or containers and make the brine.
To make the brine, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegars, and the water together in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Pour some brine into each jar over the vegetables until completely covered. Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
Makes about 3 cups.