Vietnamese Pickles Carrots & Daikon , My Family Recipe

by on August 28, 2012

Everyone knows that a family recipe is a special one, with special nuances and flavors unique to ones family history and story. I never feel as if one family recipe is ever “better” than another. Each one is different and wonderful on it’s own merits because of what it has meant to those who made it over generations. And for those who grew up eating favorite family recipes, the flavors and comfort these dishes bring are priceless.

My Vietnamese recipes are always rooted in family tradition, reflective of where I was born and the birthplace of my ancestors. My Grandparents hailed from the Northern Viet-nam and escaped the Communist regime to Central Vietnam during the war. My family stories that were passed down from my elders who had survived the wars. Accompanied with each memory was a recipe that was a window to the past, a reflection of their lives back before I was even born.

I always consider my Mom to be the queen of Vietnamese pickles. When mom gives a gift of love to those she cares for, I can almost guarantee that it would be in the form of pickles. And of course, all made from the heart.

Her delicate touch and emphasis on fresh crunch in each jar of her pickles was passed down from my Maternal Grandmother. If you were to taste the pickles, you would know it’s brined in my family tradition and regional flair.

The pickles I grew up with weren’t too sweet and more on the salty side. My father grew up in Northern Vietnam, where the foods were more subtle, less fiery and sweet than their Southern counterparts. When Dad would see Mom pickle huge jars of vegetables for her nail shop ladies (most of which grew up cooking in the sweet South), he was always remind her to “not to add too much sugar”!

Over the years I’ve modified my family recipe and found a balance that fit my eating lifestyle the most. I do love the salty brine of pickles, but am appreciating more of the slightly sweet balance in my pickles. This recipe is a reflection of both flavors.

I always grew up eating is Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon radish and they’ve become a staple in my pantry. These pickles or (do chua) are most well known for making appearances in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. But I know them just as do chua and eat them with rice, noodles and spring rolls.

Chose your favorite dish and these wonderful Vietnamese carrots and daikon pickles will enhance any meal that needs that fresh, salty crunch. Thanks and lots of love to Mom, Grandma and preserved family recipes that make food and sharing so special. Are there any special family recipes or traditions you hold close?



Vietnamese Pickles with Carrot and Daikon Radish (Do Chua)

Yield: 1lb Pickles

Total Time: 30 min

Taste the brine before you finish the final pickles. If you like your pickles more sweet, add a few teaspoons of sugar. Personalizing these pickles to your taste will make them extra special.


  • 1/2 lb. carrots- julienned or cut into thin match-like strips
  • 1/2 lb. daikon radish, cut same as carrots
  • 4 cups water, slightly warm enough to dissolve the salt and sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons distilled or rice vinegar


  1. In large pitcher or large bowl, mix water, vinegar, sugar and salt till everything is dissolved and combined well.
  2. Place carrots and daikon in a clean, sterile jar and fill vinegar till jar is full.
  3. Cover jars and set in the refrigerator to pickle for about 3 days. I like my pickles to sit for at least 3 days so that the carrots and daikon become more flavorful and sour. Pickles can last for about 3 weeks in the fridge.
Recipe Source:

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Averie @ Averie Cooks August 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for sharing about what this recipe means to you and your family, Diane! And they look delicious – I love pickled foods!


2 Bucky August 29, 2012 at 12:54 am

I must be missing something because I see some lovely pictures and a wonderful story, but there is no actual recipe. Sadness! Would love to see the recipe itself. Thanks, Bucky


3 White on Rice Couple August 29, 2012 at 6:38 am

Bucky- thanks for heads-up! We forgot to add the recipe tag in. Just did it, now the recipe is up again.


4 Diane, A Broad August 29, 2012 at 6:50 am

I love lightly sweet refrigerator pickles like these, and I always have a few carrots hanging out in my fridge, just waiting to get wrinkled and squishy. And oh man, do I miss bahn mi.


5 Grace Hatter via Facebook August 29, 2012 at 7:26 am

This is so good…I have made it lots of times!


6 Susan @ SGCC August 29, 2012 at 7:30 am

I love, love, love these! Probably my favorite thing on the plate! I always keep a jar in my fridge too. :)


7 Laura Hartman via Facebook August 29, 2012 at 7:35 am

Love it”o,


8 Chi Kim Ly via Facebook August 29, 2012 at 7:41 am

I’ve been patiently waiting for this recipe! Now this will definitely compliment the awesome banh mi recipe! (I’ve made that like 4 times now!!)


9 Asian Supper via Facebook August 29, 2012 at 7:55 am

Mmm can never have too many pickle recipes


10 Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa August 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

Lovely! So fresh and delicious. It reminds me slightly of kimchi only better. Can’t wait to try!


11 Colette @ JFF August 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

I love family recipes. Thanks for sharing!


12 Sean August 29, 2012 at 9:41 am

I do hope you’ll post to PD?


13 White on Rice Couple August 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Sean- ok! done and done. 2x :)


14 Kate Jaworski via Facebook August 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for this recipe! We found it on your blog and made amazing banh mi with it! :)


15 Geri Miller August 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

You’re the only one I know who can make a pickle into a beautiful folk tale! Thanks!


16 Katy August 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

These look simple but yummy! My mum very deliberately wouldn’t cook anything she’d grown up with (where she could tell what was for dinner by the day of the week, and everything was bland and boring) so I had a childhood exploring loads of different cuisines. I do think the one thing that I’ll pass on will be her Christmas cake and Christmas puddings though, it’s the only part of Christmas dinner she makes, but they’re so popular, I even send some cake over to a friend in California lol


17 Christi Nielsen August 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Oooooh can’t wait to make these.
Question: Bun Thit Nuong is just about one of my favorite things in the world. And of course the pickled carrots and such are one of my favorite parts. I’ve always assumed the white part was jicama, but are you telling me that I’ve been eating daikon radish all this time? I had no idea! And now I won’t be afraid to buy it. lol


18 White on Rice Couple August 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Lol… Christi! you are so cute. Yes, you’ve been eating daikon radish the whole time. I’m pretty sure of it. :)


19 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking August 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Thanks for sharing this special, simple family recipe, Diane. These look like they’d be absolutely delicious on a sandwich or salad!


20 Marian (Sweetopia) August 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

These definitely look like a perfect way to enhance a meal with a fresh, salty crunch! I often feel like adding that crunchy texture to a meal, whether it’s in a salad or side, and I can’t wait to try these. :) Thanks for sharing a little of your history too, Diane, I loved reading it!


21 alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] August 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm

oh I can’t wait to make these! my favorite part of assembling the crispy friend spring rolls when I was in Ho Chi Minh was always the pickled daikon + carrots – even more so than the spring rolls themselves, the cool, wet lettuce and the bright local herbs.

thank you so much for sharing such personal stories + family recipes with us. I hope you can sense the appreciation in some way!



22 White on Rice Couple August 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm

hello Alexandra,
that’s so cool you’ve been to Vietnam, so you understand the importance of the pickles! And I appreciate you so much, more than you know. xoxo -d


23 chinmayie @ love food eat August 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

ooooh! That had me drooling!


24 Veronica of Muy Bueno August 30, 2012 at 6:34 am

Your photography is so alluring it makes me want to make try all your recipes. The story with this one is extra special because of the sentiment it carries…thanks for sharing. I have so many special cooking memories with my mom and grandma but I have to admit the two I treasure the most is making biscochos with my mom and watching my grandma me tortillas.


25 Emma Galloway August 30, 2012 at 7:21 am

My husband is also Vietnamese and my mother-in-laws carrot + daikon pickles are one of my favourite things to eat and one of the first things I begged her to show me how to make :-) I eat them on everything!


26 Terry Covington August 31, 2012 at 1:29 am

My grandmother made German Stollen bread at Christmas every year for my grandfather, using his mother’s recipe. And my whole family uses the buttermilk pancake recipe my great-great-grandmother used, including when she and her family crossed the Oregon Trail by covered wagon. It’s a pretty standard pancake recipe (no big secrets), but she made it with her own buttermilk, something I cannot reproduce. We add just a touch of cinnamon and vanilla to the batter.


27 Shut Up & Cook August 31, 2012 at 11:33 am

The other night I was writing a restaurant review of a Happy Hour at a great Mexican restaurant here in Seattle and do you want to know what my favorite thing was? The Escabeche…aka..the pickled vegetables! I would never order it, but it was delicious. I am totally a convert.

Am excited to try your recipe and see if I can recreate it. Particularly love pickled veggies when paired with something really rich.

Happy Friday!


28 Philip James September 3, 2012 at 12:33 am

Just found the website and I love pickled veggies of any kind so I will have to try this recipe.

However, the thing that caught my eye was the knife in the first picture. My parents had one just like it that my father had picked up in while stationed in Thailand with the Air Force. We always used it when making slaws.

I have often looked for one of my own, but I have no idea what it is called and have never seen one anywhere else until today. Do you know what the name is or where one could be found in the US?


29 White on Rice Couple September 9, 2012 at 9:37 am

Philip- This tool is normally found in Vietnamese super markets. Do you have a Vietnamese or Asian market that specializes in South East Asian food supplies? If so, you should be able to find one there. I’ll continue looking online and if I find it, I’ll let you know!


30 Terri B. September 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I love the idea of this recipe. Is it possible for me to water bath/can this pickle? I would love to hear your idea.
Thank you


31 White on Rice Couple September 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

Terri B. – I’ve never water bath/canned this recipe before because we normally eat it so quickly. But I don’t see why this technique wouldn’t work. If you do water bath these pickles, please let me know how it turned out! -d


32 Minh Tran from Hanoi September 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Hi Diane,

Thanks for featuring the Vietnamese dishes in your blog. The pickles look so fresh and yummy that I can’t resist making myself a jar tomorrow (when I go to grocery’s). I suggest you to compete in the cooking contest, same as what Cristine Ha had done, and make us Vietnamese proud of.


33 Tracey @cookingwithloveblog October 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I love everything about this, and the radishes are my absolute favorite! Beautiful photos! :)


34 Mighty Noah B December 8, 2012 at 10:12 am

I just went and bought everything for this recipe and can’t wait to make it. One question I have is – do I need to follow the typical “Canning” process? i.e. Seal the jars, then submerse them in boiling water? Or is that not necessary? Thank you!


35 White on Rice Couple December 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm

We almost never “can” the jars since we plan on eating them within a month or so. Just keep them in the fridge. These are quick enough and have a better texture for quick pickling vs being pickled and stored for a long period. Hope that helps. Enjoy!


36 Jessica January 3, 2013 at 3:07 am

I miss my Vietnamese food. Thank you so much.


37 alicia February 3, 2013 at 9:51 pm

I’m eager to try this! Can you use plastic containers for this?


38 White on Rice Couple February 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm

That should be fine. Hope you love it.


39 Tanya April 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm

This is a wonderful recipe, I can not wait to try it. Thanks!


40 Karen May 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Love it! I featured your recipe on my banh mi blogpost :)


41 Emily August 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Awesome! This looks like the simplest recipe I’ve seen. I had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant today and loves the salad…who knew it was pickling made it so tasty?! What other vegetables can I do this to?


42 anthony April 24, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Time for some banh mi w/ cha bong. HUNGRY.


43 Thomas June 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Oh My. Thank you for the recipes, the sandwich and pickles are unreal!


44 Caitlin July 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I jsut made this yesterday! I got a little confused though, I made it just as you said and had sterilized the jars and lids, but then got concerned and boiled them afterwards according to the directions on my canning jar box. Will that mess them up considerably? Should I then put them in the fridge or are they okay for keeping out on the counter?


45 White on Rice Couple July 21, 2014 at 8:33 am

We always make these as quick pickles, something we’ll eat over maybe a month’s time so we don’t ever seal the jars. As with most anything, you just want to start with clean jars and lids. If they store too long we don’t like the texture quite as much. We do store them in the fridge.


46 Chichi August 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Do you have to cook/steam/boil the carrots or radish first?


47 White on Rice Couple August 12, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Hi Chichi. No, the carrots and radishes are not cooked at all. Enjoy.


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