Cooking, Cooking & Eating, Ingredients, etc.

Kkakdugi Kimchi (or, Kimchi Made From Big Honking Radishes)

I like most pickles. Obviously. But if I had to compile a list of four or five favorites — of the sorts of pickles I couldn’t do without — kkakdugi kimchi, or kimchi made from big honking radishes, would definitely rank. I’ve talked about them here before. In this other post about pickled daikons, I believe I said that because my preparation owes so much to Lauryn Chun and to Maangchi’s fabulous Korean food blog, I probably wouldn’t be posting a version of it here.

But that was then, and this is now. And in the meantime, I’ve changed my mind.

I found myself in the produce aisle at the grocery yesterday, staring at some very pretty, very large daikon radishes. And I thought to myself: I want kkakdugi! And then I thought to myself: since I’m going to make it anyway, I might as well make enough to share.

Kkakdugi Kimchi

For the sake of full disclosure, you should know that real kkakdugi kimchi is not made from daikons. It’s made from these enormous light-green Korean radishes that look sort of like a football, if said football were made out of brassica rather than synthetic pig leather (the picture behind the link doesn’t really do them justice). But kkakdugi with daikon is almost a dead ringer in terms of taste — tangy, spicy, savory, and a little bit sweet. Daikons are much easier to find, especially if you don’t have a Korean grocery near you. And I like the daikon version every bit as much as the (perhaps technically more authentic) real thing.

My usual routine when I have kkakdugi hanging around the house is to eat it for breakfast with bread or a little bit of leftover steamed rice. But it’s good with whatever meal at whatever time, with whatever else happens to be on your plate. So if breakfast pickles aren’t your thing, I say go nuts for lunch. Or dinner. Or as a between-meals snack.

It’s good for you. It’s easy to make. And it’s far too delicious to pass up.

Kkakdugi Kimchi

Kkakdugi Kimchi

3 Large Daikon Radishes, cut into large cubes
4 Green Onions, chopped
1 Carrot, cut finely (or shredded)
1 inch Fresh Ginger, minced
5-6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/3 cup Fish Sauce
1/3 cup Korean Pepper Powder
3 tbsp Sweet Rice Flour (optional)
2 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tbsp White Sugar

In a large workbowl, toss the cubed radishes with salt and allow them to drain for an hour. They should yield something like a scant half cup of liquid.

While the radishes are draining, mix the fish sauce, Korean pepper powder, rice flour, ginger, garlic, and sugar into a thick paste.

Kkakdugi Kimchi

When the radishes have drained, rinse and dry both the radishes and the bowl. Then toss the radishes, carrot, and green onion with the pepper paste, thoroughly coating everything. I find that my hands are the best tool for this part of the process.

Kkakdugi Kimchi

When everything is well coated, tightly pack the kkakdugi into quart or half-gallon mason jars. Cover loosely and allow to ferment for four days to two weeks, or until they are pleasantly sour.

When they’re done, these can go in the refrigerator. But they’ll keep just fine on the counter, too. Their flavor should evolve — they’ll get more sour and more savory — the longer you let them ferment.