In my never-ending quest to become more familiar with kimchi, I tried a simple recipe. This classic style of kimchi is made with spicy paste and cubed daikon radish for the veg. Occasionally I will also include winter squash such as butternut, acorn, or pumpkin into the mix.
If you’ve got some on hand, this is a great use for make-ahead kimchi paste.
- 1 large (12-16" and 3" diameter) daikon or Korean radish, about 1½ lbs. or 750g
- (Optional) ¼ lb. (100g) cubed winter squash or pumpkin
- 3-4 scallions (green onions)
- 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled (15g)
- 2-inch (10g) piece of ginger
- 1 oz. (30 ml) red pepper powder (more=spicier)
- (Optional) 1 Tbsp (15ml) fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp tamari or shoyu (soy) sauce
- 1 pint (500 ml) filtered water
- sea salt
- Cut off greens from radish and peel outer layer off with a peeler. Use greens for another purpose.
- Cut radish into 1 inch cubes.
- Dissolve 3 Tablespoons salt into 1 quart of water in a half-gallon (or larger) container or mixing bowl.
- Add radish cubes to brine and soak for up to 6 hours.
- Drain the veggies through a colander. Reserve 1 cup of brine when draining.
- Roughly chop the garlic and ginger. Add to bowl of a food processor bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, dice the ginger and garlic so it's almost a paste, and add to a mixing bowl.
- Slice leeks or scallions into ½" pieces and add to mix.
- Add pepper powder, tamari and fish sauce to mixing bowl. Vegan variation: omit fish sauce.
- Stir and mash contents (or pulse with food processor) together until a paste forms.
- Wearing a latex or plastic glove to protect yourself from the heat of the pepper, mix the paste thoroughly with your hand into the drained radish cubes. You can mix everything directly in the fermenting container, or in a separate large mixing bowl. Mix until the cubes are coated nicely with the paste.
- Pack tightly in the container to remove any air bubbles. Make the top surface flat and even to reduce the chance of mold forming.
- Add a weight (such as a wine bottle, olive jar, zip top bag with water) on top of the contents.
- Liquid will continue to form as the veggies are weighed down.
- Cover with a cloth and rubber band to keep flies out. (If using airlock, skip this step).
- Check the container in 1 day. If the contents are not submerged in brine, add the reserved brine just enough to cover the contents.
- Place in a cool spot (out of direct light) for 14 days. The larger pieces take a little longer to ferment than smaller diced styles of kimchi. Note: Your house will smell like kimchi.
- Remove any cloth, weight and lids and transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator, where the taste will develop slowly. Will keep for up to 4 months.
The recipe is based on one found in this book: