Pickled Dried Vegetables in Fish Sauce for Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Dưa Món)
You can’t have banh tet or banh chung without pickled vegetables. Well, you can, but it just won’t be as complete nor as good.
Dua Mon is Vietnamese pickled dried vegetables. Similar to Vietnamese Pickled Daikon & Carrots (Đồ Chua) it’s made with daikons and carrots. But here the vegetables are first dried then pickled with a fish sauce brine.
Dua Mon is commonly eaten with Vietnamese Savory Glutinous Rice Cakes with Pork Belly & Mung Beans (Bánh Tét) or its square-shaped version, Bánh Chưng
Because the vegetables are first dried, they provide a distinct crunch that’s much different from do chua, another pickled condiment found in Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi) or spring rolls (goi cuon).
How to Cut the Vegetables For DUA MON
For my recipe below, I actually like to make dua mon with just daikon and no carrots.
I also don’t peel the daikon because the skin adds to the texture. If there are any blemishes on the skin, remove it with a peeler or small knife but leave the rest of the skin intact.
Start with cutting a large daikon into 4-inch chunks. Then divide each chunk into wedges, equivalent to the size of your largest finger. The daikon will shrink considerably once dried. Transfer the cut daikon to a large mixing bowl and add a good amount of salt. Let the daikon sit for 2 hours to release its water. Once daikon has given up most of its water, give it rinse to get rid of the salt then it’s time to dry.
How to Dry out Vegetables for DUA MON
Once the vegetables are salted and rinsed, you can use a food dehydrator to dry them out. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can leave them out in the sun. In a hot climate, you can completely dry out the vegetables in a few hours. In cooler climates, you might have to wait a few days. If you don’t have enough sun, another method is to use the oven. Place the vegetables on a wire rack over a baking sheet and set the oven to the lowest temperature, typically 170°F. Dry it out for two hours or longer, if needed.
Once vegetables are completely dried out, transfer to a jar with a lid.
dua mon Brine
The brine for dua mon is a combination of fish sauce, water, sugar, fresh chili peppers and garlic. First heat up the fish sauce in a small saucepan. Add sugar until it’s fully dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool then add to the dried vegetables.
Dua mon is ready after one day and will taste better over time as the flavors are absorbed by the vegetables. The fish sauce brine preserves the vegetables and can be kept in the fridge to last 5-8 months or at room temperature for one month.
Recipe below. Happy preserving!
Pickled Dried Vegetables in Fish Sauce for Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Dua Mon)
Makes 2 cups
1 large daikon (about 2 lbs)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 cup fish sauce
½ cup brown sugar (loosely packed)
½ cup water
2 garlic cloves (peel and thinly slice)
1 chili pepper (thinly slice)
Leave the daikon unpeeled but remove blemishes on the skin, if any, with a vegetable peeler or small knife. Cut the daikon into 4-inch chunks then divide the chunks into wedges, about the size of your largest finger. Daikon will shrink considerably once dried.
Transfer cut diakon to a large mixing bowl. Add salt and mix until combined. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours until water has pooled to the bottom. Rinse and squeeze the daikon, in batches, to get rid of the salt.
Use a food dehydrator, sun, or oven to dry out the daikon. If you don’t have food dehydrator, you can dry out the vegetables in the sun in a few hours if you are in a hot climate. Remember to give the daikon a quick rinse to remove any dust from being outside. In cooler climates, you might have to wait for a few days. You can also dehydrate the daikon in the oven. Place the vegetables on a wire rack over a baking sheet and set the oven to the lowest temperature, typically 170°F. Dry it out for two hours or longer if needed.
Transfer dried daikon to a jar with a lid. Add sliced garlic and chili peppers to the jar.
In a small saucepan, heat up fish sauce, brown sugar and water. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Cool to room temperature.
Add room temperature brine to jar. Seal with a lid and let it marinate for one day at room temperature then store in the fridge. It’s ready to eat after one day, but will taste much better over time. If kept in the fridge, it can last up to 8 months.