Cubed Radish Kimchi
Cubed Radish Kimchi (깍두기)
Cubed Radish Kimchi (깍두기) is a type of kimchi made from korean radish (무). Although it can be made in any season (radishes can grow year-round), it’s said that radishes taste best in the fall when they’re sweeter. I I don’t know if that’s true, but I do enjoy my radish kimchi with some beef bone soup (설렁탕) in the fall.
4 lb Korean Radish (Daikon)
2 tbs Salt
2+ tbs White Sugar
2 tbs Minced Garlic
2 tsp-4 tbs Minced Ginger
1 ½ cups Finely Cut Green Onion
¼ cup Fish Sauce
⅓ — ⅔ cup Coarse Chili Powder/Flakes
⅓ cup Radish Juice
Wash and peel the Korean radish into 1” cubes. They’ll look larger than what you normally buy at the market or get at restaurants, but that’s because they’ll shrink a good ¼”.
Mix the cubed radish with 2 tbs salt and 2+ tbs white sugar. Some recipes I have seen recommend more white sugar, brown sugar, or soda to emulate restaurant-style radish kimchi that tends to be on the sweet side. Make sure it is mixed well, and then set aside for 30 minutes.
After sitting for 30 minutes, the radish should have “sweated” a bit, producing a bit of “radish juice.” Retain ⅓ cup of the juice and discard of the rest.
Add the 2 tbs minced garlic, 2–4 tbs minced ginger, 1 ½ cups finely cut green onion, ¼ cup fish sauce, ⅓ — ⅔ cup coarse hot pepper flakes, and the ⅓ cup radish juice to the drained radish.
Most recipes don’t recommend so much ginger, but I personally like the bite that the ginger gives the kimchi, so I will add up to 4 tbs. If you’re looking for something more traditional, 2 tsp is enough.
The spiciness of the kimchi can also be adjusted. ⅓ cup hot pepper flakes is enough for a mild version while ⅔ cup is enough for a decently spicy radish kimchi. I’ve never added more than ⅔ cup, but the sky is the limit if you can handle it.
Mix the radishes well with the seasoning until it’s evenly coated. It should have a shiny, juicy look.
At this point, the kimchi can be eaten or stored in the refrigerator. If you choose not to let to go through the fermentation process, the texture will be very crunchy, and the flavour will feel “detached.” It will taste very distinctly of radish and seasoning instead of radish kimchi. I’m personally not a fan (especially with the amount of ginger I usually put), and so I will choose to let it ferment for a few days.
If you’re not going to eat it right away, move the kimchi to your jar of choice. While scooping the kimchi in, press down every few scoops to remove air that may be stuck in-between the cubes. Leave a good 1” at the top of the jar to allow the natural gases and liquids that form to escape. This is especially important if you’re using a glass jar like me. Nobody wants to wake up to an exploded jar of kimchi.
Place the jar in a shaded place at room temperature and wait 1–2 days for it to ferment.
After the first day, about ¾” of water should appear at top along with some bubbling. If you look at the jar, you should also see pockets of air where there wasn’t any before.
By the second day, it should smell very distinctly of vinegar or slightly sour and there should be more bubbles than the first day. At this point, you can move it to the refrigerator. I personally prefer to let it ferment for 2 days because I find the flavour more rounded, but you can always let it ferment less or more depending on your own preferences.
After a week or more in the fridge, the flavour will develop a richer taste while maintaining its distinct crunchiness. Unlike a lot of other foods, kimchi only gets better with age. I like it best around the 4 week mark in the fridge, although it usually doesn’t last that long.