The other day I made the most marvelous (if I do say so myself, and I do, I do) Bahn Mi Street Tacos. If you haven’t seen that post, take a peek! One of the defining elements in that recipe is these Quick Vietnamese Pickled Carrots, a little sweet with tangy undertones from the vinegar, and they’re a little addictive!
You can use them in those street tacos, or maybe you’re here to make them for a recipe of your choice, but these will be marvelous to brighten up so many Asian or Asian American fusion-y type meals and bowls. I use a similar recipe for Simple Pickled Daikon and Carrots in my Spicy Steak Ramen Bowls.
About Quick Vietnamese Pickled Carrots:
I was inspired to make this recipe from a Diner’s Drive in and Dives episode, Coming Together in Cali, and made these by trying to judge what the chef at The Banshee in Chico, California, did. Who knows, maybe I’ll get there sometime! If you know me, you gotta know I’m
obsessed fascinated by food, and these are a quickie pickle, not a real deal fermented pickle like the ones I saw on the Enlightened Foodie! But they’ll get the job done…and take minutes to make! (It is best if you can let them sit for an hour before using.)
These carrots will also be fabulous on Bahn Mi sandwiches, tucked into spring rolls, dropped onto pulled pork sandwiches, added to any Asian leaning salads and bowls, noodles, and rice dishes. You might even find yourself just snacking on them. They’re a great way to add a little freshness, especially if you happen to be lacking in a variety of fresh veggies in these times!
Pickles like these are also a wonderful way to use up any carrots you might have languishing in your fridge. I always seem to have a couple of sad ones lingering, rolling around at the bottom of my drawer. Even a sad old lonely carrot or two can be revived. And the same goes if you buy those packages of julienned carrots. You can basically make this recipe in any quantity using my method, and once made, these pickles will last in the fridge, getting better and better, for weeks.
Making Quick Vietnamese Pickled Carrots:
First of all, to make these, you have to get the carrots processed. I think fresh carrots are the way to go, but the prepackaged julienned carrots work, too, just know that they tend to be harder and dryer to start with than fresh ones. There are little hand tools you can julienne with, so that’s easy peasy, you just scrape across the carrots. A mandolin can be tricky, depending on the type you have. Even slicing them into strips and then stacking and cutting them with a knife (a chore but it can be done) can work.
What I like to do is make as many as I want, and no pickling recipe is exact, unless you’re measuring by weight. My carrots and your carrots may not be the same size! I measure using the displacement method. I just stack my carrots in a jar and fill the jar with water. Then I dump out the water into a measuring cup and I know how much pickling liquid to make to cover the carrots.
Then I’m using a ratio to make these and you can vary this if you want more sweet or more tart by adding more sugar or more vinegar: 1 part vinegar, 1 part water (so equal amounts of water and vinegar), and an amount of sugar that is 1/4 of the vinegar. Add fish sauce and salt to taste, not much, just a little of each.
So if I want about a cup of liquid, which in my jar was enough to cover 3 shredded carrots with very little waste (1 cup is 16 tablespoons) I’d use 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1/8th a cup (2 tablespoons) sugar. I added just a splash of fish sauce, maybe a teaspoon and a pinch of salt.
Saving Money on Quick Vietnamese Pickled Carrots:
Carrots are downright cheap, and this recipe is a great one to preserve and use any languishing in your fridge! If buying carrots, they’re usually cheaper in the larger bags, and regular carrots generally cost less than the “baby” carrots or the shredded carrots. Make sure they’re not sitting in moisture in your fridge; turn them so they are at right angles to any ridges in your fridge drawer and turn the bag over now and then.
Any vinegar will work in this recipe, but you may need to adjust to taste; Rice Vinegar isn’t always used in pickles but it has a distinct taste and it’s on the mellow side. Rice Vinegar (sometimes called Rice Wine Vinegar) is often at a low around the Lunar New Year along with many other Asian products, often unadvertised. The lowest prices are generally going to be at an Asian market.
I hope this post finds you well today and carrying on as best you can. It’s been beautiful weather here in Minnesota after a horrendous storm. Why does it always have to storm just as my lilacs, peak!! As I sit here, the window open, Chance curled at my feet, Homer the cat off doing whatever it is cats do (napping, probably) it’s hard for a minute to believe there’s anything wrong in the world. I count myself lucky, today and my problems seem petty! Stay vigilant, everyone! Stay careful! And as my Mom used to say, “Just because everyone else is jumping in the lake, it doesn’t mean you have to, too!”
Check-in with a hi, hello or howdy from time to time, just so I know you’re ok!
Quick Vietnamese Pickled Carrots
Make these a little ahead, at least an hour, but they keep in the fridge for weeks.
- Total Time: 10 to 15 minutes + rest time
- Yield: varies
- Category: Pickles & Preserves
- Cuisine: Asian
- 3 carrots, finely julienned, 3 to 4 inches long
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup vinegar, Rice Vinegar preferred
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- good pinch salt
- To make any amount of carrots, use the displacement method. Add carrots to a jar, fill with water to cover. Measure the water and use that amount to build the pickling liquid amounts. See body of text but a good starting ratio is equal amounts of water and vinegar (each will be 1/2 the amount of your measurement) with the sugar about 1/4 of the amount of vinegar. Estimate the fish sauce and salt.
- Go by taste and adjust amounts to get the sweet/tart ratio you like.
Bring sugar and water to a simmer to dissolve sugar (be careful if making small amounts to not boil away the water). Add vinegar after removing the water from the heat, fish sauce, and salt. Pour, while still hot over carrots.
Once cool, cover and place in refrigerator. Keeps well for several week and gets better as it ages.
Keywords: Asian, Carrots, Condiments, Diners Drive Ins and Dives, Fish Sauce, pickles, rice vinegar, The Banshee, Vietnamese, Vinegar
I’ll be sharing at Fiesta Friday #330 this week where I’m seeing bloggers from all over the world post their best recipes of the week. Stop by if you have a moment.