I keep a jar of these pickles in my fridge at all times. I love the crunch, brightness, and salty sweetness. A lot of the time when I’m eating a quick meal at home I throw a bunch of bits onto a plate – olives, cheese, cured meats, wholemeal toast with hummus, seedy crackers, etc, etc. But when I top it with a forkful or two of pickled carrots it becomes a thoughtfully curated platter, not just a random snack selection.
I usually make these with my favourite vegetable, carrots, but also enjoy red onion and radishes. Daikon radish and carrots is the classic Vietnamese combo used in bánh mí sandwiches – the fresh, crunchy pickles are the perfect foil for the rich fillings.
In case you were wondering – these are salt brined pickles. You add a sugar/ salt rub and leave to macerate which allows some of the carrots’ natural water content to be drawn out. Then the pickling liquid can penetrate the cells more thoroughly giving the pickles better flavour, texture and a longer shelf life than if you had placed them directly in the pickling liquid.
I call them Việt Pickles because I adapted the recipe from one in Andrea Nguyen’s fabulous book Vietnamese Food Any Day.
200g prepped vegetables of your choice – carrot, daikon radish, red onion, etc
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
100g caster sugar
Begin by prepping the carrots. Peel and slice into matchstick sized pieces. (A mandolin comes in handy for this job if you have one.)
Place in a bowl and sprinkle over the 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp sugar. Massage gently and set aside for 20 minutes, during which time some water should be drawn out of the carrots. Place in a colander, rinse with water and drain well.
Stir together the vinegar, water and caster sugar for the brine until the sugar has dissolved.
Place the carrots in a jar, pour over the brine and leave to chill for at least one hour before serving. You can refrigerate these for up to one month.