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Cubed Radish Kimchi

For my first attempt at making this sweet, salty, spicy, satisfyingly crisp bite o’ banchan, I followed this recipe from one of my favorite Korean food blogs, Evil Jungle Prince. Unfortunately, it turned out to be way too fishy for me. (This may have something to do with my misreading the measurement for anchovy sauce as calling for tablespoons instead of teaspoons, but never mind that, and let us never speak of it again.)

Full of despair, I turned to the fine folks at the eGullet kimchi thread for advice. Properly comforted that I could safely reduce the amount of anchovy sauce without suffering fatal intestinal maelstroms as a result, I decided to try again.

I adjusted the proportions a bit more to my liking, and stole a few ideas from this other recipe (also from Evil Jungle Prince) as well.

Finally – success!

Korean food is my latest obsession. I ordered a cookbook, bookmarked a few blogs, and am going wild in the kitchen. I found a grocery store near my apartment that sells fabulously tasty homemade gochujang (red pepper paste) in little tupperware-ish tubs, and picked up everything else I need Han Ah Reum in K-town.

It’s a good thing Dave loves the cubed radish kimchi, and can tolerate my filling the fridge with things like tiny spicy salty sweet itsy bitsy anchovies for the munching.

Cubed Radish Kimchi
1 daikon radish (weighing approximately 1 1/2 lbs.)
Water and kosher salt for brining
2 tsp Korean fine chili pepper powder
1/2 bulb of garlic, finely grated
1 1/2″ fresh ginger, finely grated
4 tsp Korean anchovy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 tsp Korean coarse chili pepper flakes
4 scallions, green parts only, sliced into 1″ lengths
1 1/2 tsp rice flour
3/8 C water

Fill a big non-reactive bowl (this means no metal!) with cool water and stir in a handful of kosher salt. Peel the radish and cut into 1″ cubes. Put the radish cubes into the brine and leave them there to soak for 20 minutes.

Make rice porridge by mixing the rice flour into the 3/8 C water and bringing it to a boil, at which point it will thicken, then removing it from the heat and setting it aside to cool to room temperature.

Sterilize a jar. (Yeah, this seems kinda silly, but all the recipes I’ve read suggest it, so why not?)

When the radish cubes are done brining, rinse them off with cool water. Mix in the Korean fine chili pepper powder.

Mix all the other ingredients into a paste, then mix them into the radish cubes, making sure that all the cubes are basically smeared all over with this stuff. This is tons of fun to do with bare hands.

Put the whole mess into a jar and screw on the lid. Leave it out at room temperature for about 40 hours, at which point it is ready for eating and should be kept in the fridge henceforth.

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10 Responses to “Cubed Radish Kimchi”

  1. Lydia says:

    My new favorite Korean cookbook is Dok Suni — very accessible recipes that use ingredients you can actually find in the market, but with authentic taste. Do try it!

  2. Annie says:

    Yum! That’s one of my favorite kimchis. Anchovy sauce seems to be falling out of favor in the US because Korean-Americans are self-conscious about the strong smell, so even eliminating it is fine. It does add depth of flavor though.

  3. chefjp says:

    Enjoyed your recipe– I enjoy visiting the evil jungle prince also (best asian based cooking blog, I think). Dishes like this illustrate an important point in cooking– time is a cook’s best friend.

  4. I must admit, I haven’t sampled much Korean food – only some kind of pancake way back in college, which was pretty delicious. I do enjoy Kimchi though, it’s one of the many things I learned to eat on that food cleanse this past summer. My husband thinks it’s gross but for some reason that just makes me like it all the more, lol. :)

  5. Ellie says:

    Not a huuuge fan of ggakdugi (radish kimchi) myself, but my sister goes absolutely NUTS for it, she’ll sit down and chow on a bowl of the stuff on its own as an entree :P

    As for the leaving – might be a good idea to note that this depends on your temperature! In somewhere cold and snowy, if its left in a pretty cold room then it could take longer, but somewhere like Australia at the moment, its so hot that it could ‘ripen’ in as quickly as 2-3 days :)

  6. Danielle says:

    Lydia – I will, thank you!

    Annie – I really like using some, just not too much.

    chefjp – Yeah, there’s something very satisfying about foods that require aging.

    Ari – You should try Kunjip on 32nd St. in Manhattan, it’s awesome.

    Ellie – Hmm, that’s a good point. It kept aging in our fridge, though, and became very ripe indeed before it finally all disappeared.

  7. Mrs.W says:

    Even though I lived in Korea for two years, I never developed a taste for traditional fishy-fermented kimchi. I do like ‘fresh’ kimchi–made within an hour or so, and often without the fish oil.

    Yours looks brilliantly done!

  8. susan says:

    hi danielle,
    wow you made kimchi! i’m korean so i’m always impressed when people make stuff like kimchi. plus the recipe looks legit. good job. :)

  9. Keira Aponte says:

    A round of applause for your blog.Thanks Again. Great.

  10. Albert says:

    one of my fav korean recipe websites is this:

    I love that they have videos. And your recipe looks awesome btw.

    My wife (italian) and I always try our best to make korean food like my mom used to make, sometimes it works out, sometimes we call late night chinese. But we love experimenting and trying. Awesome blog! My coworker Lorena turned me onto it. I think u may know her.

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