Dua Gia (Pickled Bean Sprout Salad)
Delicately crunchy and bright tasting, this easy southern Vietnamese favorite is technically a pickle because the vegetables steep in brine. But it is eaten in large amounts like a salad, usually with intensely flavored fish or pork kho (dishes simmered in savory caramel sauce). The vegetables provide a refreshing contrast to the inky, deep flavors of kho but they’re also terrific paired with dumplings or sandwiches. The bean sprouts and carrot are typically combined with flat Chinese chives. Since those kinds of chives can be hard to find, you can also use thin green scallion tops.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ⅔cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1cup distilled white vinegar
- 1pound bean sprouts
- 1carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 5small or 4 medium scallions, green parts only, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths (see Note)
Step 1To make the brine, combine the sugar, salt, vinegar and 1 cup water in a large saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat and completely cool.
Step 2At least 40 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving, add the bean sprouts, carrot and scallions to the brine. Use your fingers to toss the vegetables. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables 2 or 3 times to expose them evenly to the brine. At first, the vegetables won’t be covered by the brine, but then they will shrink. They’re ready when they’re almost covered with brine and taste pleasantly tangy and are a mix of crunchy and soft. If needed, let them sit for 10 minutes longer.
Step 3Drain the vegetables and pile them high on a plate. Serve at room temperature within 2 hours to enjoy them at their peak.