Lightly Pickled Carrot and Daikon

Pickles are humiliated cucumbers.  They become sad and gnarly, and get the vivid life sucked right out of them.  It's a depressing process, really.  And yet somehow, I don't feel guilty whatsoever pickling daikon and carrot.  Maybe because nobody knows that daikons are anyways, so what does it matter if I humiliate the crap out of them?  Or maybe because these are sweet, dynamic pickles that burst with fresh, delicious flavor.  Rather than the flavorless, salt-ridden amoebas that are usual pickles, these babies brighten whatever they are served with, and function to enhance their fellow flavors.

  • 2 large carrots, 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 lukewarm water

1. Place the carrot and daikon 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.
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.

  • Daikon are Japanese radishes, look for ones about 2" thick.  Thin ones are flavorless and big ones can get bitter.  You want a smooth, unblemished outer.  Very fresh daikon are often available at the farmers or Asian market.  I can get them at my local Marsh.
  • This makes a LOT.  I have made about a dozen banh mi sandwiches and have not even made a dent in my supply.  If you are making only 8-12 sandwiches I would consider cutting the recipe to 1/3.
  • To cut back on having to add sugar I used half cane vinegar (sweeter than regular old distilled vinegar) and reduced the sugar to about 1/3 cup.
Yields 3 cups.

Recipe from: http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2009/05/daikon-and-carrot-pickle-recipe-do-chua.html 

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