How to make Radish Kimchi, Kkakdugi (깍두기)
It is September already. That means a lot of fall vegetables will be abundant in the store or at the market. One of the most popular fall/winter vegetables in Korea has to be the radish. Koreans use radishes in a variety of dishes. But, the most of all, radish kimchi must be the number 1!
So here is a quick and simple radish kimchi that we call Kkakdugi (깍두기). With the crunch texture and the fermented flavor, Kkakdugi seems to be beloved by everyone even with people who are not keen on Korean food.
It is a lot simpler to make than cabbage kimchi and you can whip it up quite fast. So look for some chubby Korean radishes at the Korean or Asian grocery stores. You can make the authentic flavored Korean radish kimchi at you own home without much fuss.
Korean radishes are chubbier than its cousin Daikon radishes. When you make kimchi with them they can maintain their crunch texture during the long fermentation period and yield mellow sweetness. They come in different sizes. Mine happened to be somewhat small, so I use about 4 radishes. If the radishes are big, you will only need 2 or so for this recipe.
Peel the radish and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
Place them in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle some Korean coarse sea salt (or any coarse sea salt over and toss well). Let them sit for 1 hour, then rinse with water once. Drain in a colander and set aside.
In a blender, combine onion, garlic, ginger,...
... and add a heaping tablespoon of cooked white rice.
The rice works as a glue in the filling and help to feed the good bacteria to grow. If you don't have any leftover rice, you can use plain unseasoned mashed potato instead.
Then add some milk. Milk in kimchi...? Yes, I said milk.
You won't taste the milk in the kimchi at all, but the milk will enhance the fermentation and help to retain the light and refreshing flavor of kimchi. Just give it a shot and you will be surprised.
Combine Korean chili flakes, shrimp sauce, anchovy sauce, and a little bit of sugar. Add the onion/milk puree to the mixture and mix very well. It will become like loose paste.
Add the radish and toss all together. Make sure you wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands. Taste the kimchi and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt.Put kimchi in an airtight container. If you want lots of kimchi juice, pour some water to the mixing bowl and swirl around to collect the residue of kimchi seasoning and pour over the kimchi.You want to let the radish kimchi on a room temperature for 2 days, then store in the fridge for another 5-6 days for further fermentation. Your kimchi should be ideally fermented by then.
Here is well fermented radish kimchi. Enjoy this kimchi as a side dish with any Korean meats, soups or stews, noodles or whatever. Just staring at the photo of Kkakdugi makes my mouth salivate. Because my brain remembers how good they are.
Hope you give this recipe a shot. You will like it!
Korean Radish Kimchi (Kkakdugi)
- 2 medium size Korean radishes (about 4 lb)
- 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon cooked white rice or plain unseasoned mashed potato
- 5 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons anchovy sauce
- 3 tablespoons shrimp sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- Peel the radishes and slice them into 3/4-1 inch cubes.
- Place the radish cubes in a large mixing bowl or in a kitchen sink (with the drainage closed), sprinkle salt and toss well. Let them sit for 45-60 minutes tossing once to soak evenly. Rinse the radish once and drain well.
- In a blender, combine onion, garlic, ginger, rice (or potato) and milk. Process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add Korean chili flakes, sugar, anchovy sauce, and shrimp sauce. Mix well and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add radishes to the mixing bowl and toss with the seasoning paste very well. You will need to wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with more anchovy sauce, salt, and sugar according to your taste.
- Transfer the radish kimchi into an airtight container and let it sit in the room temperature for 2 days, then store in the refrigerator for 5-6 days for a good fermentation before you serve. Enjoy!