Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Vegetable Salad)

>> Thursday, July 12, 2012

During the Vietnam war, my wonderful stepdad Paul was a peace volunteer working in agriculture in Vietnam. He has had a love for Vietnamese food since then, which he has passed down to my four half-Vietnamese step-siblings and my mom, who is always willing to try something new. He has kept most of his Asian recipes a secret up until now, but I hope to wheedle them out of him to share with all of you.

Vietnamese pickled vegetables
Do Chua is a daikon radish slaw 

We'll start with Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Vegetable Salad). Mom gave us a mint plant out of her garden a few weeks ago, and we were looking for new ways to use fresh mint leaves. I plan to take a jar of this pickle back to them when I visit next month.

This recipe is a sort of Vietnamese version of Giardiniera; this ubiquitous condiment is found at table in Vietnamese restaurants and homes. The daikon radish, mint leaves, and hot pepper make an unusual and delicious contrast to salads, sandwiches, or alongside meat dishes.

I needed to get back into serious cooking last weekend. The Chicago Area has broken heatwave records for the past week, and Saturday was the first day below 90 degrees in I don't even know how long. Windows opened, fan on, it was perfect to start canning again, since my canning mojo is in full swing this summer.

Note: I hadn't used fresh daikon until I made this salad, and I was surprised that it smells somewhat like mild mushrooms, and isn't as pungent as an ordinary red radish. If you can't find daikon, I would recommend replacing it with jicama. It's not exactly the same, but still delicious!


Sa Lach Dia (Vietnamese Pickled Vegetable Salad)

Viet daikon radish slaw
Daikon, carrot, cucumber


2 carrots, peeled
1 large daikon (white radish), peeled
8 oz fresh bean sprouts
1 cucumber, peeled
1 small red chile (Szechuan, birds eye, or red Cayenne)
1/4 cup sea salt
1 cup water
1 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp superfine sugar
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped

Cut cucumber, daikon, and carrots into matchstick slices. Put vegetables into a glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt and water. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Drain vegetables. Finely chop red pepper, being careful not to get the volatile oils on skin or eyes (these are STRONG peppers!). Toss peppers with vegetables, then tightly pack into sterile glass jars.

Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables, tapping the jars to release air bubbles. Allow 1/4" head space at the top of the jars. Wipe the rims with a clean wet cloth and screw on lids. Let marinate for a couple of days before using. This will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

If you plan to can these for later use, process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before tightening lids and storing.

Makes approximately 3 pints.
The Complete Guide to Food Preservation

You can find other canning and preserving recipes in my book, The Complete Guide to Food Preservation: Step-by-step Instructions on How to Freeze, Dry, Can, and Preserve Food


Kathleen,  July 13, 2012 at 9:20 AM  

Ooh, I can't wait to try this!

Kathleen,  July 13, 2012 at 9:21 AM  

when you come, we will give the "little pork thingies" recipe.

Angela Williams Duea July 13, 2012 at 6:25 PM  

I'd definitely like the recipe for the little pork thingies. And any others he has!

Thy Tran June 15, 2017 at 12:08 PM  

Please correct your title. Xalach dia refers to the plate piled high with greens that's served at many South Vietnamese meals (just one example being the bean sprouts, herbs and lime that accompanies noodle. soups). Do chua is the Vietnamese term for pickles. In this day and age, it's easy enough to do a quick search to confirm your use of foreign words.

Angela Williams Duea June 15, 2017 at 3:16 PM  

Thy Tran, thank you for your kindness in correcting my mistake. I used the title from the original recipe and didn't double-check it for accuracy. I will do so in the future!

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