Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Vietnamese Pickled Daikon and Carrots (Do Chua)

A new sandwich shopped opened up close to my house and to my delight they sell Banh Mi and very little else. Vietnamese cuisine is one of my very favorite and I eagerly tried the shop a few days within opening. There is something about the freshness of flavors that I love and can not seem to get ever get enough. One of our favorites in our house is the fresh summer spring rolls that I will post later this week. Back to the Banh mi. The vegetables on top are what really make the sandwich for me so I eagerly did some research when I got home. As I munched on my DELICIOUS sandwich I realized it was quite easy to assemble on my own so I went to Whole Foods, bought the veggies and made the pickle that afternoon. To my surprise other than it being a lot of cutting it is quite easy to duplicate right in your own home. 
I decided to post the recipe after an old friend emailed me asking for ideas to spice up her healthy cooking. Most canned pickles are high in sodium but as this is a fresh pickle and will not be canned it requires very little salt and you get the added benefit of the vinegar. Vinegar is great for the body and has many medicinal claims. That being said this dish works as a side dish, condiment and as a topping for sandwiches. We ate the whole bowl in one day and I am already plotting my next batch. Perhaps on top of a pulled chicken sandwich...We shall see. 

It is rare that I use a recipe in its original form but this one I did because it was new to me and I respect the author Andrea Nguyen a great deal. Her cookbooks keep winning awards and she is respected world over as an authority on Vietnamese cuisine. 

Daikon and Carrot Pickle (Do Chua) from Viet World Kitchen

Makes about 3 cups
1 lg carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 lb daikons, each no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp plus 1/2 C raw cane sugar
1  1/4 C distilled white vinegar
1 C lukewarm water
In a medium size bowl mix the carrots and daikon with the salt and 2 tsp of sugar. Mix with your hands massaging the vegetables until they become slightly limp and water begins to accumulate in the bottom of the bowl. You want them to still be a crunchy but flexible. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Shake out excess water and return to bowl. In a small bowl combine the rest of the sugar, white vinegar and water stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Pour over vegetables and let sit at least 1 hour before eating. Keep refrigerated. 
Serve with a variety of grilled meats or tofu or as a topping on sandwiches. 
Asian Marinated Grilled Pork Chop with Daikon Carrot Pickle and Thai Basil
Check back tomorrow for my version of the Banh Mi recipe!

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