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Young radish (yeolmu 열무김치) aka “ponytail” kimchi is a summer delicacy. Use the whole veg, stems and all! Traditionally it is made with fresh green and red chiles. I substituted red pepper powder and used cucumbers rather than green chiles.
A traditional paste is made with rice flour porridge (congee), but most of my recipes don’t actually include it. Feel free to omit it.
- 1½ to 2 lbs. young radishes (about 2 small bunches)
- 2 quarts/liters plus ¾ cup filtered water
- 6 Tablespoons (90ml) plus 2 teaspoons more for seasoning. fine sea salt
- 3 scallions (green onions)
- OPTIONAL 1½ Tablespoons rice flour
- ¼ lb (60g) cucumbers
- 2 ounces by weight (60g) red pepper powder
- 1½ ounces by weight (40g) ginger
- 2 ounces by weight (60g) garlic, peeled
- Dissolve 6 tablespoons sea salt into 2 quarts/liters of water.
- Rinse dirt off radishes. Add radishes to brine.
- Weigh down radishes. Let them sit in brine 2-4 hours.
- If using, Add rice flour to ¾ cup of water in a saucepot. Heat on medium. Stir until flour is dissolved and mixture becomes a thick paste (congee), usually takes about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Peel garlic and peel ginger (using a spoon). Chop roughly.
- Add to work bowl of a food processor, along with red pepper powder. Pulse until garlic and ginger have been finely chopped.
- If using, when congee has cooled, add to a bowl. Add garlic-ginger mixture and stir together.
- Peel and slice cucumbers on the bias. Chop scallions into 1" slices. Add both to paste mixture.
- Drain radishes, squeezing greens out.
- Peel the outer skin of the radishes, being careful not to separate them from the greens.
- Coat the radishes heavily with paste, ensuring you get paste in the greens, too. Pack into a glass jar (quart-sized or larger) or crock.
- Add any residual paste to jar/crock.
- Cover with a plastic lid or plate, and weigh down so that the contents stay under the brine.
- If using quart-sized jars, use a small batch fermentation glass or ceramic weights, or find a small glass jar (filled with water) that closely fits inside the diameter of the jar.
- Cover jar(s) with a cloth and rubber band to keep flies out (or secure with fermentation airlock device).
- Ferment for 7-8 days. Transfer to refrigerator. Enjoy within 1-2 months.