Spicy Radish Kimchi (kkakdugi)

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In my never-ending quest to become more familiar with kimchi, I tried a simple recipe. This classic kimchi is made with spicy paste and just cubed daikon radish for the veg.

Spicy Radish Kimchi
Recipe type: fermented vegetable
Prep time: 
Fermentation time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 quart
  • 1 large (12-16" and 3" diameter) daikon radish
  • 2 baby leeks OR 4 scallions (green onions)
  • filtered water
  • sea salt
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 oz. red pepper powder (more=spicier)
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce (to taste); optional
  • 1 Tbsp tamari or shoyu (soy) sauce
Soak the Veg
  1. Cut off greens from radish and peel outer layer off with a peeler. Use greens for another purpose.
  2. Cut radish into 1 inch cubes, or slice into rings.
  3. Dissolve 3 Tablespoons salt into 1 quart of water in a half-gallon (or larger) container. Avoid using a metal container.
  4. Add radish cubes to brine and soak for up to 6 hours.
  5. Drain the veggies through a colander. Reserve 1 pint of brine when draining.
Make Paste
  1. 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.
  2. Slice leeks or scallions into ½" pieces and add to mix.
  3. Add pepper powder, tamari and fish sauce to mixing bowl. Vegan variation: omit fish sauce.
  4. Stir and mash contents (or pulse with food processor) together until a paste forms.
  5. 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.
  1. Even out the cubes in the container. Next, right on top of the mixture, place the largest object (usually a plastic lid or plate) you can find which will fit inside the diameter of the container.
  2. Add a weight (such as a wine bottle or other glass bottle) on top of the lid/cover.
  3. Liquid will continue to create a brine while the veggies are weighed down.
  4. Check the container in 1 day. If the contents are not sumberged in brine, add the reserved brine.
  5. Cover with a cloth and rubber band to keep flies out. (If using airlock skip this step).
  6. 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.
  7. Move to refrigerator, where the taste will develop slowly. Will keep for up to 6 months.

The recipe is based on one found in this book:

Good morning kimchi cover