Spicy Radish Kimchi (Kkakdugi)

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.

Spicy Radish Kimchi

Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Fermentation Time 14 days
Course Fermented vegetable
Cuisine Korean
Makes 1 quart


  • 1.5 lbs (750 g) daikon or Korean radish or any other style radish
  • 1/4 lb (100 g) cubed winter squash or pumpkin, optional
  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) fine sea salt
  • 3 scallions green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 inch (5 cm) fresh ginger root
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) red pepper powder
  • 1 Tbsp tamari or shoyu soy sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid fish sauce, optional


Soak the Veg

  • 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 salt into 1 quart of filtered water in a half-gallon (or larger) container or mixing bowl.
  • Add radish cubes to brine and soak between 2 and 6 hours.
  • Drain the veggies through a colander. Reserve 1 cup of brine when draining.

Make Paste

  • 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 scallions into 1/2" 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. 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:

Good morning kimchi cover

4 thoughts on “Spicy Radish Kimchi (Kkakdugi)

  1. Powerhands Reply

    This recipe sounds great! I have a question though…
    My understanding of fermenting is that the vegetables need to be soaking in brine. Is the chili paste considered the equivalent of liquid brine? Also, if the radish is drained, I assume all the brine it was soaking in goes down the drain. If this is the case, what does item #11 mean when it says to push the radish cubes under the brine? I thought the brine was discarded?
    Thank you!

    • Austin Post authorReply

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for pointing that out! I updated the instructions to make them more clear. I added that the liquid will still express from the radish while it is weighted down (and due to the residual salt from the long soak). The resulting brine is a combination of the chili paste and that residual liquid.

      I also updated the recipe to recommend reserving some of the soaking liquid to use just in case brine does not form to cover the contents.

      I hope that clears things up!

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