Banh mi pickles are a great place to start if you are new to fermenting. With the assistance of a food processor (or a mandolin), this recipe comes together with minimal fuss, and you’ll be rewarded with a condiment that adds a ‘wow’ factor to all manner of dishes. In just a few days it will be fizzing with beneficial bacteria and the vibrant flavours of Vietnam. Enjoy!
You will need
- 500g (approx 4 cups) shredded daikon*
- 250g (approx 2 cups) shredded carrot*
- 15g (approx 2 rounded tsps) salt*
Optional (but recommended!)
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
1 litre jar with lid
*Note: I recommend weighing these key ingredients, as getting the right ratio will ensure a successful ferment.
Combine daikon, carrot and salt in a bowl and mix through. Allow to sit for half an hour or so while the salt to does its thing, drawing moisture from the vegetables. Stir in remaining ingredients, then pack firmly into a jar. Ensure that the pickles don’t sit higher than the shoulder of the jar (this is to prevent the liquid spilling over when fermentation gets going). At this point also check the level of the liquid – you want it to be higher than the pickles. If it’s sitting below this level, make up a 2% brine solution to top it up (eg 5g salt dissolved in 250ml water).
Ferment for 3-5 days at room temperature (if it is quite warm, do release the lid slightly to allow carbon dioxide to escape on a daily basis). Taste, and if the pickle is to your liking, move it to the refrigerator where it will keep well for several months. If you find it too salty, continue fermenting for another few days and taste again. If on the other hand you find it too sour, try adding some more coconut sugar to balance it out (see serving suggestions below).
These pickles do amazing things in a baguette (as per Vietnamese tradition), but are also fabulous piled on scrambled eggs, scattered through a salad, or simply as a side dish to a main meal. They also make the perfect snack atop rice crackers, with a sprinkle of coconut sugar and garnish of fresh coriander.
Inspired by Phikle.com