Carrots are naturally sweet and chock full of vitamins. A single cup of carrot contains over 400% of our daily requirements for vitamin A, which is key for growth, a healthy immune system as well as good vision.
Whenever I think about trying to eat more vegetables, green (salads, or spinach and broccoli) comes to mind, so imagine my great surprise when I found out that for ideal health, vegetable subgroups need to be taken into consideration, and the ideal amount of red or orange vegetables is actually notably more than dark green ones.
For example, according to choose my plate, people should be getting approximately 3:1 red or orange vegetables to dark green vegetables. For young children, 2-3 years old, the ratio is even higher at 5:1!
Yikes! Does ketchup and spaghetti sauce count as red or orange vegetables? I have to confess, despite trying to increase the ratio of red and orange vegetables in my diet, I am still no where close.
When my daughter first started solid foods, it was clear that she didn’t like carrots. The more she refused it, the mushier and creamier I made them to entice her, but she was adamant on spitting out the carrots so I relented after a few dozen failed attempts. I had read somewhere that babies might need to try a new food approximately 15 times before liking it, but after trying for months and months, making them sweet, or savory or buttery or spiced or plain and her refusing them all, I stopped trying to get her to eat carrots.
Then one day, maybe a year later, I saw her happily eating some carrots at a friend’s house, so I tried making carrots again. Again, she refused them. Now that she was older, I just simply asked her what’s up.
She simply responded that she likes carrots; she just doesn’t like them soft. Oh. Well then. So I handed her a raw baby carrot and she said thanks and munched away while I was watching both in amazement and distress that I had just handed her a choking hazard.
In particular, she liked the sweet, tangy and crunchy pickle carrots we got with our banh mi (Vietnamese style sandwiches) that we buy for lunch sometimes when we go to stock up on Asian groceries. For the last year, I have been trying to find a recipe that replicate that sandwich shop’s pickle carrot and daikon (do chua).
The one below, adapted from White On Rice Couple, is the closest so far, but not exact. I can’t put my finger on what is different, but the sandwich shop’s is sweeter without tasting sugary. The sandwich shop’s is also savorier, but clean tasting. I just can’t explain it (and I’m pulling my hair). Any tips or hints or alternative recipes will be most appreciated!
Vietnamese Style Pickle Carrot and Daikon (Do Chua)
Recipe adapted from White On Rice Couple
- 1/2 lb carrot, julienne
- 1/2 lb daikon, julienne*
- 4 cups water
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
*Often I just double the carrots and do not add daikon because it’s not always readily available in my neighborhood store.
1. Wash and cut carrots and daikons. My knife skills are atrocious, and having roomed with a sushi chef who laughed every time he saw me trying to cut something, I like to do this step in privacy. I argue it’s for my daughter’s safety, but hiding is really optional.
2. Combine water, sugar, and salt and heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. Let cool and add vinegar and garlic.
3. Add carrots and daikons to solution and let sit overnight to a few days for flavors to infuse.
It’s very convenient to have these sitting in the fridge to add a little bit of extra vegetable to meals. My daughter likes it when I add a small handful of these pickled carrots to her sandwiches for a sweet refreshing crunch. Last night we made fish tacos for dinner and these also came in handy and added a nice tangy crunch to the tacos.
For more information on healthy eating styles, I love the US’s department of agriculture site: choose my plate! It feels like I’m trying to increase our vegetable intake one garnish or addition at a time but it’s a worthwhile effort right? So do you have any tips on how we can get enough red or orange vegetables in our diets? Please share!
Thank you in advance.