Do Chua (Pickled Carrots and Daikon)

I love all things pickled, especially Korean pickled ban chan.  Well, maybe not all pickled stuff, but most things.  You get the point.  I grew up watching my Mom pickling vegetables… from kim chee to pickled garlic.  But never learned or had the interest until recently.  When I wanted to make banh mis for dinner one night, I was a little worried about finding pickled carrots and daikon only because I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to find it pre-canned.  So I perused through many recipes and finally decided on one.  I don’t know why I chose the one I did, but I’m sure glad I did because the daikon to carrot ratio is 2:1.

Why do I care about the daikon to carrot ratio?  Well, if you haven’t read it already in my banh mi post, I grew up NOT liking carrots.  In fact, I detested carrots while growing up.  I would gag if there was a piece of carrot touching the rest of my food.  If there was shredded carrots mixed in with something else, I simply just wouldn’t eat it.  However, I am slowly coming around.  I’ll eat stewed carrots and pickled carrots.  But if you tried to give me raw carrots, well, we can just forget about being friends.  Drama queen.  I know.  But that’s how much I hate raw carrots in its natural form.  Anyhow, to make the long story short, the desire of wanting to pickle carrots was a whole new world to me.

I knew I had to marinate the carrots and daikon in the pickling solution for at least an hour, so I made my way to Whole Foods hours before dinner.  I got home and started cutting my carrots and daikon into “thick matchsticks.”  This part of the process was exhausting as I hovered over the chopping board cutting, while trying not to slice my hand.  At one point, my right hand (the chopping hand) started to tingle with some numbness, almost like carpal tunnel syndrome.  But I mustered through it and had a full bowl of matchstick-sized daikon and carrots ready for pickling!

Do Chua (adapted from Viet World Kitchen)

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 pound daikon, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup warm water

In a bowl, combine the half cup of sugar, vinegar, and water and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Place the carrot and daikons in a colander and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar.  Mix the sugar and salt mixture into the vegetables, and let it sit for a few minutes to soften.  Use your hands to knead the vegetables.  Stop kneading when you can bend a piece of daikon so that the ends touch but the daikon does not break.  The vegetables should have lost about one-fourth of its water volume.  Rinse under cold running water, and then gently squeeze to expel extra water.

Place carrots and daikon in a bowl and pour the pickling solution over the vegetables. The solution should cover the vegetables.  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.  Beyond that point, they get tired.

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