Recently, Vietnam celebrated New Year’s Day, a time when the traditional rice cakes Bánh chưng or Bánh tét are typically eaten. These are often enjoyed with spicy and crunchy pickled vegetables known as Dưa món.
Radish is often used, but carrots or slices of green papaya can also be pickled. The secret behind it is that the vegetable slices are first dried, then soaked again and finally soaked in a diluted sweet fish sauce. After a few days, you can eat it. However, it already tastes very much like fish sauce, so you should like that.
The pickled vegetable slices are not only a popular side dish in Vietnam, but also a healthy and light alternative to other snacks. By drying and re-soaking, the vegetable slices retain their crunchy texture while absorbing the flavor of the sweet fish sauce. The flavor is intense and spicy, but not overpowering. If you like it a little spicier, you can add some Chili or garlic. The pickled vegetable slices are not only a flavor highlight, but also a real eye-catcher on the table. The next time you go out for Vietnamese food or cook for yourself, you should definitely try this dish.
In Vietnam, this type of pickled vegetable is often served as a side dish with dishes such as rice, noodles or grilled meat. There are also variations with Chili or garlic to add spice. The method of pickling vegetables is a tradition that has been practiced for centuries in Vietnam. It’s an easy way to preserve vegetables for longer while adding a delicious flavor. Give it a try and be tempted by this Vietnamese delicacy!
Radish is often the preferred choice, but carrots or green papaya slices can also be pickled this way. The trick is to first dry the vegetable slices, then soak them again and finally marinate them in diluted sweet fish sauce. After a few days, the vegetables are ready to eat, but they taste strongly of fish sauce, so you should like this flavor.
You can prepare the vegetables not only at New Year but also at any other time of the year, they are very crunchy and go well as a side dish. In summer, you have the advantage of being able to dry the radish slices outside in the sun. In winter, you have to rely on the oven, a dehydrator or a rather hot heating. In the photos we have shown both variations (outside in summer and in the dehydrator).
- 2 large white radishes
- if necessary carrots
- 200ml water
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 12 tbsp fish sauce
- if necessary, 1 – 2 chilli peppers, if you want it to be a bit spicier
- Peel the radishes and cut off the leaves. Cut them into slices about 3 mm thick and halve them.
- Spread the radish slices out on baking trays or drying grids. Dry in direct sunlight for about 1 day in summer or in a dehydrator at 54°C for about 12h until they are wrinkly and hard. However, they should not become dark and definitely not moldy in the process!
- Wash the jars carefully and fill them with boiling hot water (sterilize).
- Soak the radish slices again in a bowl of warm water for about 10min, then squeeze them out and layer them in the jars. Why dry first and then soak again? Because it makes the vegetables crunchy!
- Boil water and sugar together in a pot until the sugar has dissolved. Let it cool a little and add the fish sauce.
- Pour the brine over the radish slices until they are completely covered. Add sliced Chili to taste.
- Leave to infuse for a few days, then it is ready to eat.
Goes very well as a side dish with Vietnamese New Year rice cakes Bánh chưng or Bánh tét, but also with any other meal where you want some crunchy vegetable garnishes.
- Some also add pickled spring onions.
- You can also just fill it up with fish sauce brine and omit the previous soaking of the dried radish slices in water. But then you need much more brine (about twice the recipe).
Enjoy your meal!