Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Perfect Pickle Weather

Carrots & daikon radish are staples of Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches & they are absolutely addicting! I love these pickles on everything & when the vegetables are finished, I like to use the brine for dressings. They are very easy & require no canning. Carrots are inexpensive & daikon is easily found in Asian markets. Here is a quick & easy recipe to make refrigerator pickles that will make any sandwich delicious.

Daikon and Carrot Pickle
Do Chua (download pronunciation)
Try this daikon and carrot pickle recipe once and then tweak the recipe to your liking. Variations of the include adding tangy-sweet-pungent pickled shallots (cu kieu) to the mixture, as well as making heavier on the carrot side than the daikon side. I prefer to keep a higher ratio (say 2:1) of daikon to carrot as I like the mild bite of daikon radish. I like a tangy-sweet flavor whereas you can alter the ratio of sugar to vinegar to make the brine sweeter, and hence affect the pickle’s flavor.
Makes about 3 cups
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 pound daikons, each no larger than 2 inches in diameter, 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 lukewarm water
1. 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 about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. They will soften and liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl. 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 their volume. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water. Return the vegetables to the bowl if you plan to eat them soon, or transfer them to a 1-quart jar for longer storage.
2. To make the brine, in a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the vegetables. The brine 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.
Recipe from: Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors (2006, Ten Speed Press)

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