Dưa Món – Vietnamese Savory Pickled Green Papaya & Vegetables

  • Prep time: 2 hour
  • Inactive time: 20-24 hours
  • Cook time: about 30 minutes
  • Serving: With this documented recipe, I’m able to fill up two quart-size containers, four 16-ounce mason jars, and three 8-ounce mason jars.
  • Note: This recipe requires a two-day process. Day 1 is a 10-hour process so start early morning.

Around the Vietnamese lunar new year (Tết), traditional Vietnamese home chefs would be busy making traditional steamed savory “bánh tét và bánh chưng”. The savory steamed rice cakes are filled with seasoned mung bean and fatty pork meat. This steamed savory rice cake would be served with Vietnamese savory pickled vegetables called “dưa món”. My MIL sent me a dozen of her homemade savory rice cakes this year, so I’m determined to make a batch of dưa món to be eaten with the cakes. The following pictorial recipe is and adaptation of Nina Tran Le’s recipe for dưa món on her Youtube channel, SoSimYum.

Ingredients:

Fish sauce brine:

  • 4 cup filtered water
  • 4 cup pure cane sugar (yellow)
  • 4 cup Viet Huong fish sauce
  • 1 lb rock sugar
  • 2 cup distilled white vinegar (added after cool down)

Salt water brine:

  • 4 quarts filtered water
  • 2 cup Vinegar
  • 2/3 cup coarse Sea salt

6 pounds combination of the following:

  • green papayas from my tree
  • Korean radish*
  • carrots
  • crunchy short cucumbers*
  • Thai or red chilies
  • 2 jar Vietnamese pickled leeks (củ kiệu)

Self Reminders:

  1. I combined everything and then realized I should have weighed the papaya and vegetables separately. But I used a total of exactly six pounds for this pictorial.
  2. *I forgot to buy the right kind of cucumbers this time. Buy the short dill cucumbers or the long Thai cucumbers to get a crunchy texture. Don’t buy the big fat regular cucumbers.
  3. I didn’t have a large enough mixing bowl to fit all 6 pounds of papayas and vegetables so I split it into 3 pounds each per mixing bowl. The papayas and vegetables somewhat shrink at the end so I think 7 pounds would be good for the ratio of the fish sauce brine. But don’t exceed more than that.
  4. *daikon – I used the little daikons from my garden. To get the crunchy texture of daikon, buy the chubby round Korean daikon commonly used to make kim chi radish, don’t buy the long shaped daikon which is commonly used for braising and stewing because it doesn’t have that crunchy texture for pickling.
  5. Other vegetables that can be used in Dưa Món may include pearl onions (watch Nina’s youtube tutorial on how to prep it first), chayote, kolrabi, and dehydrated daikon. After testing Nina’s recipe, I only use my favorite papayas and vegetables. My mom and MIL gave me suggestions to improve the prepping process.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate. At the end of this post are Amazon links to products and ingredients I used in this pictorial recipe. If you choose to purchase products from my direct link, you help me earn a little commission to support my blog site.

Direction:

Day 1 in the early morning

1. Peel the papayas, carrots, cucumbers, and daikons. Cut and slice them all the same thickness about 1/4th-inch thick. I combined 6 pounds of mixed papayas and vegetables, 12 cups of filtered water, and 1/3 cup of coarse sea salt in each large mixing bowl. Stir the mixture to dissolve the sea salt. Brine the papaya and vegetables for six to eight hours. I brined mine for six hours. Set the timer.

2. In a 6-quart pot, boil 4 cups of water with 4 cups Viet Huong fish sauce, 4 cups pure cane sugar, and 4 a pound rock sugar on medium to medium-high heat. Bring the fish sauce mixture to a boil and turn off the heat. Let the fish sauce mixture cool down completely. Once the fish sauce mixture has cooled down, add in the 2 cups of white vinegar. Set the pot aside with the lid over for Step 6.

3. Strain the vegetable mix into a colander. DO NOT rinse. This is the time I strain the two jars of pickled leeks in a separate colander and add the pickled leeks in with the vegetables mix. (Discard the brine in the jars of the pickled leeks. I also add the red chilies peppers. I somewhat pat dry the vegetable mix with paper towel to speed up the process.

4. Preheat oven to 400F. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper and spread the vegetable mix onto the tray evenly. TURN OFF the oven heat before putting the trays of vegetables inside the oven. Do NOT close the oven door tightly. Remember to leave a small crack. I just stick a wooden spatula between the oven and door to leave a crack opening. Leave the vegetables in the heated oven to dry off the moisture for three hours. Set the timer.

5. Take the tray of air dried vegetables out from the oven. Then pour the vegetables mix into the pot of fish sauce brine that was set aside to cool down. (Don’t forget to add that 2 cups of white vinegar in the fish sauce mixture if it’s not been added.) The vegetables had shrunk a bit so all that 6 pounds worth of vegetables and papaya that I weighed at first will fit into that pot. Mom Thank goodness. Close the pot with the lid and set aside for the next day.

Day 2 in the morning:

6. The second day, scoop out the brined vegetables from the pot into a large mixing bowl. Wearing latex gloves, I transferred the vegetable mix into glass mason jars and plastic food-grade quart-size containers.

7. Heat up the fish sauce brine to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat and turn off the stove. Let the brine cool completely. This step is necessary to prevent spoilage and helps preserve the pickled vegetables crunchiness longer.

8. Once the fish sauce brine has cooled completely, I carefully scoop the fish sauce brine into the jars and containers of mix vegetables, put a lid on, and store the containers in the fridge. With this documented recipe, I’m able to fill up two quarts, four 16-ounce mason jars, and three 8-ounce mason jars. I kept a quart size container out on the container for consumption within two weeks, gifted my friends four quarts, and stored the rest in the fridge. Storing dưa món in an air-tight container in the fridge will keep its freshness and crunchiness for a year or more.

Day 3: Enjoy!

I hope my Vietnamese friends enjoy this homemade dưa món with fried bánh tét and bánh chưng. Below are direct links to recommended Amazon products and ingredients that I used in this pictorial recipe. Remember, when you choose to purchase recommended items from my direct Amazon product links, you are helping me earn a small commission from each item purchased.

Show off time!

Now it’s time to show my Golden papaya tree! I’m working on a documentary post for my papaya’s life cycle to share later this year.

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