Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do Chua - Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables

I love eating anything pickled but nothing can beat Vietnamese Do Chua (pickled vegetagbles). Some people add Sriracha to everything, well that's how I feel about Do Chua. Anything that requires prepared nuoc mam, I will add Do Chua. It add some sweet, sour, and crunchiness to dishes such as Banh Beo, Banh Xeo, Banh Mi, Ca Nuong, Com Tam, Thit Kho, and many more. I always have some handy in the fridge because you will be surprise what you can eat with it.

There's a variety of vegetables you can pickle; cucumbers, onions, peppers, but the most common in Vietnamese cuisine are carrots and daikons. The pair are often found in Vietnamese Banh Mi, and it does make a huge difference. I always have to make sure they did not forget my Do Chua, or else I will be a very unhappy camper. Do Chua comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, and that is completely up to you. I prefer it a little smaller than what you would find in a Banh Mi but not as fine as being julienned, one of the best thing about Do Chua is the crunch and you just can't get that when it's too fine. Be prepare to do a lot of peeling but I guarantee it's worth all the effort!


1 daikon
12 medium carrots
10 Thai chili (optional but it does add a hint of spice)
3 cups of water
1.5 cups of vinegar
1 cup of sugar
2-3 teaspoon of salt

1. Prepare the daikons and carrots to your liking.
2. Warm the water in pot, it does not have to come to a boil. Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt to the water and stir.
3. Add the daikons, carrots, and chili to a jar.
4. Add the warm mixture from step #2 to the jar.

If you would like to eat it within a couple of hours, it will pickle faster at room temperature. If you are in no hurry just stick it in the fridge. Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Goi Vit - Duck Salad

Like I have mention many times before, Goi Vit is my all time favorite salad. Today was such a hot day, it just put me in the mood for something light and flavorful. In Vietnam a plate of Goi Vit usually consist of sweet, tender duck meat on top of shredded banana blossom and morning glory. All the ingredients is soaked in this wonderful concoction of fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. It is so good that I always slurp up all the excess dressing at the very end, when my mom isn't watching of course.

Like Goi Ga, you HAVE to use coriander leaves in Goi Vit. It must be poultry thing! When there is coriander leaves, I just can't leave out the onions. You get spicy sweet from the onions and spicy bitter from the coriander leaves, they are just meant for each other! I don't always have access to banana blossom so I replace it with cabbage and carrots. Cabbage doesn't really have a lot of flavor, it's really there for texture. So all the ingredients I use such as the mint leaves and cilantro really compliment the shredded cabbage. I want this dish to set a pace for my cooking for the rest of the summer, lots of flavor!

1/2 a duck
1/2 cabbage
2-3 carrots
1 sweet onion
fish sauce
2 lime
fresh chili
Vietnamese coriander
roasted peanuts

1. Boil your duck in a pot of water until fully cooked. You can use the broth to make soup such as Bun Mang.
2. Finely shred the cabbage, thinly slice sweet onions, and julienned carrots.

3. Marinade the cabbage, carrots, and onions with 4 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 cup of sugar for like 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
4. Rough chop the cilantro, coriander, and mints, set aside for later.
5. Crust roasted peanuts and set aside for later.
6. Remove the duck and let cooled. Butcher into smaller pieces.

7. Drain excess fluid from the cabbage mixture, no need to squeeze the juice out.
8. Add the duck pieces to the cabbage mixture.
9. Squeeze one whole lime to the cabbage/duck mixture, add 2 tablespoon of fish sauce, fresh chilies to your liking and mix thoroughly.
10. Mix in the fresh herbs right before serving and top off with some crush roasted peanuts.