Sometimes a pickle is meant to be so simple it defies imagination. This everyday Vietnamese condiment is not spicy nor exotic. It is a builder of flavor and texture in other dishes. This is a good beginner pickle to make and a quick way to build texture and sweet/sour into a meal.
My version differs from the traditional—it’s a live-cultured pickle teeming with life. Do chua becomes an elevated condiment in what I call broad spectrum probiotics—adding a variety of fresh cultured foods to most of your meals. This is the secret of the Elders around the globe.
I am enjoying the discoveries of spooning a little do chua on common dishes. This is like kraut in a Reuben, or relish on a hot dog. It is mildly sweet-sour, with nice crunchy notes. In fact, this is the pickle found on the Banh Mi, a classic sandwich of Vietnam now being enjoyed around the world.
You also might get to use a julienne peeler. My favorite—OXO Brand, under $9.00) found at larger kitchen department stores.
With the stroke of this peeler you create instant strands, just the right texture to render carrot and daikon radish into matchsticks. Or use your knife skills and slice by hand.
INGREDIENTS: – Makes 1 Qt.
- carrots 1/2 LB (.2 kg), julienne or match sticks
- daikon radish 1/2 LB (.2 kg), julienne or match sticks
- brine, 2 cups, [2 cups filtered water, 1 TBS sea salt]
After 4-Day Fermentation:
- sugar, 3 TBS or other sweetener
- rice vinegar, 4 TBS
- Peel the carrots and daikon. Then lay each on cutting board and draw the julienne peeler down from thick end to pointed end with medium pressure. Turn a quarter turn and repeat until complete. Next cut the strands into about 2-1/2 inch sticks; a nice length for most uses.
- Toss and combine the mixture and pack into a clean one-quart jar.
- Make the brine and fill the jar until almost full. Complete using the Perfect Pickler® or your own preferred method to lacto-ferment.
- After four days of fermentation pour the contents out into a bowl and mix with the sweetener and vinegar. Repack into the jar and refrigerate.
Photo credit: Stu Spivack
Banh mi sandwiches on French baguettes is a darling of food truck and sandwich shops. (Google > “banh mi recipes”).
Use on hot dogs or hamburgers instead of relish. Fold it into a wrap or summer roll. A perfect topper for lettuce wraps or lettuce cups.
Salad: Add to torn greens for an instant side salad adding your favorite dressing
- Straight out of the jar add a splash of neutral oil, some chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Consider some chile flakes or minced hot peppers.
- For a lively coleslaw chop the do chua and toss with shredded cabbage. Add neutral oil or mayo, some chopped capers, chives or scallion tops.
- For a salad dressing, whisk brine with neutral oil, add minced garlic, fresh lemon or lime juice and fresh chopped herbs.
Above: Simple Fermented Daikon [no Carrots] as a Rice Bowl Topper
© 2017 Bill Hettig