Kkakdugi (Korean Radish Kimchi)

Difficulty Easy

Nothing like a bite of crunchy, juicy, spicy Kkakdugi to make every meal taste better! Make easy Korean Radish Kimchi and enjoy the BEST fermented kick of spicy goodness!

Every year — in the fall and winter — my local Korean grocery store sells big, round radishes in 20 lb bags. That’s when I know — it’s time to make Kkakdugi!

What is Kkakdugi or Radish Kimchi?

Kkakdugi is Korean radish kimchi that’s cut into cubes. The thick, chunky texture is so delicious and crisp! With a bright, acidic, deliciously fermented, spicy kick of flavor — it’s a wintertime staple that perks up everything.

No more bland and boring winter meals! Not with Kkakdugi on the table!

Truly, there’s nothing so good as biting into crispy, juicy, and spicy cubes of Korean Radish Kimchi.

Different from Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Baechu Kimchi), Kkakdugi is crunchy and firm. Take a bite and CRUNCH! The texture is solid, sturdy, thick, and chunky. Yes, there’s a hedonistic, textural pleasure to eating Kkakdugi.

For a classic pairing in Korean cuisine, serve with milky-looking Korean soups made from bones — Seollangtang, Khori Gomtang, or Dak Gomtang. The assertive flavors and crunchy texture of Korean Cubed Radish Kimchi are a nice counterpoint to these mildly flavored soups. So good together!

Ingredients:

  • Korean Radish (Moo/Mu). Look for heavy radishes with firm, plump bodies and no cracks. They will be creamy white with light green coloring. Green = sweet, so the greener the better. (*Do not use Chinese or Japanese daikon. They are not the same!) FYI – Korean radish is in season during the months of November and December. That’s when it’s sweetest and juiciest.)
  • Shrimp Paste + Fish Sauce. The combination of both adds salty, deep flavor and complexity.
  • Garlic + Ginger + Green Onion. The essential aromatics! Don’t skimp on any of the amounts.
  • Gochukaru. Korean dried chili flakes. Spicy, fruity, and slightly smoky — good Gochukaru is ESSENTIAL. Look for coarsely ground Gochukaru that’s made in Korea for the best flavor.
  • Salt. To cure kimchi, good salt is essential. I recommend mineral salt, sea salt, or Himalayan salt.
  • Rice Flour. My 90-year old Korean grandmother always adds pureed, cooked white rice to her Kkakdugi. Her secret ingredient — that little bit of starchy sweetness adds flavor, helps the fermentation process, and makes for a smoother, more pleasing texture. An easier, modern swap is to use rice flour. Swap with regular all-purpose flour if you don’t have it.
jar of kkakdugi

Instructions:

  1. Peel Korean radish. Optional step. Some people do not peel, as it’s very thin.
  2. Cube into 1-inch chunks. Cut into thick, round discs. Cut into thick sticks. Finally, cube into same-sized 1-inch chunks.
  3. Add salt and sugar. Sprinkle cubed radish with salt and sugar. Mix and set aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Drain. After 30 minutes, transfer radish to a colander. Drain liquid. Transfer radish back into the bowl.
  5. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients, directly on top of the radish. Using your hands, mix well. At first, it will look dry. Keep mixing until a thick, juicy paste forms.
  6. Pack into jars. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Then transfer to the fridge. After a week or two of fermenting, it should taste pleasantly sour and ripe. Time to eat!

PRO Tips:

  • Use a LARGE bowl and colander. The bigger, the better. You’ll need lots of space to mix the cubed radish and the seasoning together.
  • Prep storage containers. Before you begin, choose and plan the containers that will hold the finished Radish Kimchi. Glass jars, recycled kimchi containers, glass Tupperware, and plastic Tupperware all work well. Make sure it’s big enough to hold 5L. Wash and dry well.
  • Use food service gloves. Making kimchi is easier with disposable food service gloves or rubber dishwashing gloves (specifically designated for food only). Gloves make mixing easier. Also, it prevents Gochukaru from staining your hands and the garlic from absorbing into your skin.
  • Keep at room temperature for 24 hours. Jump-starts the fermentation process. Then transfer to the fridge for another week or two.
  • Be patient! The hardest part of the process will be waiting for fermentation to do its magic. I suggest tasting the Kkakdugi on the day it’s packed, for reference. After a week or two, it should be fully ripe with an acidic tang and sharpness. Also, it will be sweeter and quite juicy. The taste will be completely different from the day you packed it!

Why make Kkakdugi?

If you have always wanted to make homemade kimchi but are too intimidated, Kkakdugi is an easy starter kimchi.

Napa Cabbage Kimchi can be labor intensive. All those layers need to be salted. All the draining and washing. Then smearing the paste onto every cabbage leaf. It’s 2-3 day affair!

By contrast, making Cubed Radish Kimchi is simple and straightforward. Only 20 minutes of prep! And 30 minutes of salting! Mix in one bowl and you’re done. Kkakdugi is the simple kimchi you’ll be making again and again.

How will I know when the Kkakdugi is fermented and ready to eat?

Fermentation is part science and part magic. There’s no hard and fast rule to determine how long it will take for your Cubed Radish Kimchi to ripen.

The rate of fermentation is affected by a variety of factors. Basically, warm temperatures = faster fermentation.

To check that your kimchi is properly fermenting, check after 1 week:

  • Look for gas and bubbles. They should come up from the bottom of the jar to the top.
  • Listen for fizzing OR a loud “POP!” when opening the glass jar. Works for mason jars or airtight containers only. Koreans usually pack into jars with a foam lid that prevents an air-tight lock.
  • Taste for that acidic pungency. When kimchi is fermented, it tastes pleasantly acidic and deeply flavored.
  • Look for juice pooling at the bottom. Fermentation causes kimchi to release liquid, making it quite juicy.

Fermentation is a process! Be patient! And trust that it will work!

chopsticks picking up kkakdugi from bowl

FAQ:

How long will the Kkakdugi stay good?

Kkakdugi tastes good for up to 3-6 months. After that, it will be too acidic and overly ripe to eat at the table. But technically, kimchi doesn’t go bad — unless there’s mold growing on it.

Read About Kimchi:

Recipes With Kimchi:

chopsticks picking up kkakdugi

Easy Kkakdugi (Korean Radish Kimchi)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Nothing like a bite of crunchy, spicy Kkakdugi to make every meal taste better! Make easy Korean Cubed Radish Kimchi and enjoy the BEST fermented kick of spicy goodness!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Salting Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Side
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4 Liters
Calories

Equipment

  • Large Bowl
  • Large colander
  • 2x2LJars to store kimchi OR 1x5L Jar
  • Rubber dish washing gloves OR disposable food service gloves (optional)

Ingredients
  

To Salt the Radish:

  • 5-6 lbs Korean Radish (moo) (2-3 medium to large ones)
  • 2 Tbsp coarse mineral salt (regular salt also works)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Seasoning:

  • 3/4 cup Gochukaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce (I use 3 Crabs brand)
  • 1 Tbsp saewoojut (Korean salted fish) (you can sub with fish sauce if you don't have it)
  • 6 green onions, chopped (can be subbed with 1 small onion grated to a juicy pulp)
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced (1 entire head)
  • 1/2 inch ginger, peeled + minced
  • 1 Tbsp rice flour (regular flour also works, if you don't have it)

Instructions
 

  • Prep radishes. Rinse dirt off radishes. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin (optional). Also, trim the ends with a knife.
  • Cube into 1-inch chunks. Slice into thick 1-inch discs. Then cut into 1-inch thick sticks. Finally, cub into 1-inch chunks.
  • Add salt and sugar. Sprinkle salt and sugar directly on top. Mix thoroughly, using your hands, to ensure that every cube is evenly coated. The cubes should look "frosted."
  • Rest radish. Set aside at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • Drain. After 30 minutes, drain radish in a colander. Discard any liquid remaining in the bottom of the bowl and rinse out the bowl with water. DO NOT RINSE THE RADISHES! Transfer the drained radishes back into the bowl.
  • Add seasoning + mix. Add the remaining ingredients (labeled "seasoning" on the recipe card), directly on top of the cubed radish. Mix thoroughly, using your hands, to ensure that every cube is evenly coated. (Rubber dishwashing gloves or disposable gloves come in handy here). At first, the seasoning will look dry. Keep mixing. Ater several minutes, the seasoning will form a thick, juicy paste.
  • Pack into jars. Transfer to glass containers and close with a tight-fitting lid I use 2 2L canning jars for this amount. Rest at room temperature for 24 hrs then transfer to the fridge. After a week or two in the fridge, check the Kkakdugi. When the Kkakdugi is ripe, it will taste pleasantly sour and acidic. The Kkakdugi should last a long time but is best eaten within 3-4 months.

Video

Notes

  • Use a LARGE bowl and colander. The bigger, the better. You’ll need lots of space to mix the cubed radish and the seasoning together.
  • Prep storage containers. Before you begin, choose and plan the containers that will hold the finished Radish Kimchi. Glass jars, recycled kimchi containers, glass Tupperware, and plastic Tupperware all work well. Make sure it’s big enough to hold 5L. Wash and dry well.
  • Use food service gloves. Making kimchi is easier with disposable food service gloves or rubber dishwashing gloves (specifically designated for food only). Gloves make mixing easier. Also, it prevents Gochukaru from staining your hands and the garlic from absorbing into your skin.
  • Keep at room temperature for 24 hours. Jump-starts the fermentation process. Then transfer to the fridge for another week or two.
  • Be patient! The hardest part of the process will be waiting for fermentation to do its magic. I suggest tasting the Kkakdugi on the day it’s packed, for reference. After a week or two, it should be fully ripe with an acidic tang and sharpness. Also, it will be sweeter and quite juicy. The taste will be completely different from the day you packed it!
Keyword Kkakdugi, Radish Kimchi
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All Recipes, Featured, Kimchi, Korean, Side

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