Although I could eat these Dried Carrot and Radish Pickles year-round, I only indulge in these savory, slightly sweet and crunchy pickles during Lunar New Year. That’s because they are always served along-side New Year’s Sticky Rice and Mung Bean Cakes (Banh Chung or Banh Tet). These pickles are salty good, thanks to the liberal use of fish sauce, but the texture is what I find most appealing. First the carrots and radish are dehydrated. Then they are pickled in mixture of fish sauce, water and sugar. The dry vegetables soak up the salty liquid and puff right back up. The results: a pungent pickle with an amazing crunch! I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.
Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks
The old school way of making these pickles is to let them air dry in a sunny place for 2-3 days. This is how my Mom use to make them. If you wish to use Mother’s Nature golden rays to make your pickles, this method is just fine. After air drying for a few days, I recommend giving the veggies a quick rinse with warm water. Then use your salad spinner to get rid of the excess water before pickling.
If you have a food dehydrator this works well too. It takes longer in a dehydrator, 4 hours on a Medium setting.
1 pound of fresh carrot or radish is approximately 1 cup dehydrated.
Cut the carrot sections approximately the same length as the diameter of the radish. That way the veggies will be about the same size.
Wash your jar thoroughly with soap and hot water. Any contamination will cause the pickles to wilt and even get moldy after a few days.
When baking in the oven, make sure to rotate the baking trays so the vegetables dry out evenly.
The pickles are meant to be consumed within the month. If you want to keep your pickles for up to a year, here’s what you do: Drain the pickling liquid into a saucepan. Heat the mixture over Medium heat and allow it to boil gently for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Pour the liquid back into jar. This extra step of boiling the pickling solution makes it last extra long.
Refrigerate any remaining amounts.
2 lbs Daikon radish
2 lbs carrots
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fish sauce
Peel radish, carrots and garlic.
Slice radish into circles approximately 1/4-inch thick. Use a wavy knife to cut into 1/4-inch thick stripes.
Cut carrot into sections about the same length as the diameter of the radish. Cut each section into thinner slices, approximately 1/4-inch thick. Use wavy knife to cut into 1/4-inch thick stripes.
Slice garlic cloves in half.
Place radish and carrots in a large colander with a bowl underneath. Add salt and fill with cool water. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.
Drain water. Toss vegetables in colander to shake off excess water.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread vegetables including garlic on baking trays, placing close together in a single layer. Bake for 2 hours. Rotate the trays throughout the baking process so the vegetables dry out evenly. Once vegetables are done baking, remove from oven and allow to cool.
In saucepan, combine sugar, water and fish sauce. Over Medium heat, stir until sugar is dissolved. When liquid starts to boil, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Wash a jar with soap and hot water and then shake off the excess water. Microwave jar on High for 1 minute to dry and sanitize further.
Fill jar with dried vegetables. Pour in pickling liquid. Use a spoon to immerse the vegetables into the liquid. Place lid securely on jar and allow to pickle for 3 days.
Yields: 4 cups
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