This summer, we happened upon a Vietnamese restaurant in Festus, Missouri, on our travels. The food was very good, but what really impressed me was the pickled vegetables in their spring rolls. This gave me the idea to try doing that at home. After looking up a few recipes for Vietnamese pickled vegetables, I realized how easy they are to make. The proportions vary quite a bit from recipe to recipe, so I felt fairly confident adjusting them to meet my needs. The recipe I started with called for:
- 1.5 cups vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but any good vinegar would do)
- 1/2 cup water (I may have used a little less)
- 1/4 cup honey (sugar would work, too, but honey disolves more easily)
- 1/2 tsp salt
I started with the vinegar, water, honey, and salt, then thinly sliced carrots, cucumber, and onion until I had enough to fill the contain and be covered by the pickling liquid. I think I may have added a little vinegar to top it off the first time. Let this sit in the refridgerator in a covered container for at least an hour, and you have pickled veggies.
I added these to my stir-fry near the end, after frying tofu, mushrooms, and maybe a couple of other veggies in the wok. Using a fork, I was able to take some pickled veggies out of the brine and transfer to the wok to sauté just a little before adding cooked Asian noodle. It was delicious.
I used about half the veggies the first night, and the rest later in the week. But then I had a nice amount of brine left over, so I thinly sliced another batch of veggies and put them in the fridge. These, which had been in the brine longer, were even better, and now I’m on the third batch of veggies with the same brine. Eventually, I’ll need to discard the brine and start over, but it’s easy enough to make when I need to replenish it.
This time, the veggies I used were carrot, turnip, yellow squash, sweek potato, and green pepper. I also added a few cumin and coriander seeds for added flavor, so we’ll see how that works out. Given all of that, combined with the fact that the brine’s been around for a couple fo weeks already, this may be the last time I do it without making fresh brine.