Recipe: Spicy Miso Korean Radish Kimchi (Kkakdugi) - And it's Vegan!

Alex @ Raw Rutes | 12 November, 2017

            Recipe: Spicy Miso Korean Radish Kimchi (Kkakdugi) - And it's Vegan!

When you think of kimchi, it's likely you'll think of the varieties made with Napa Cabbage or even for the more adventurous: Bok Choy. But. Have you ever wondered just what else could be delicious with that savory, spicy chili sauce? May we present: Kkakdugi, or Korean Radish Kimchi. Yes, that's right. This recipe uses radish instead of cabbage. The result could be compared to a kimchi made with more of the cabbage's thick stalks and less of the thinner leaves. It's has a nice, pickle-esque crunch, and is a pretty memorable dish! This recipe is also suitable for vegan needs, as instead of the traditional fish oil, we substitute unpasteurized miso paste which adds a nice savory and salty flavor while jumpstarting fermentation at the same time!
Many radishes are surprisingly fermentable and delicious! This recipe is perfectly sized for one of our Yaozu Fermenting Crocks, but any 2 Liter or larger glass jar can also be substituted. Here's what you'll need to make this amazing recipe happen:
  • 3.5 pounds Taebaek (Korean) Radishes
  • 3 Green Onion Stalks
  • 2 Tbsp Raw Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Sea Salt

You'll Also Need:

  • Kimchi Paste Ingredients
    • 1 Small Yellow Onion Peeled 
    • 1 Small Red Apple Peeled and Cored
    • 2 Tbsp Unpasteurized White or Yellow Miso
    • 1 Tbsp Minced garlic
    • 1/2 Tbsp Minced ginger
    • 3 Tbsp Korean Chili Flakes (Gochugaru)
  • Plus...
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 Tbsp Sweet Rice Flour
To get started, let's first discuss the three ingredients you may have trouble obtaining:
  • Taebaek Radish - These delicious, jumbo radishes are named for Korea's Tieback Mountains. Unlike the small red radishes that often appear in salads, Taebaek take their finest form in the fall, when you'll start seeing them pop up in Ethnic Grocery Stores and Farmer's Markets. The cooler evening temperatures and damp fall soil help them plump up nice and round! They're easy to spot because of their large size and green banded tops.

  • Korean Chili Flakes - Also known as Gochugaru, these spicy chili flakes are not the same as the crushed red pepper flakes you'll find in pizza joints. Search them out online or at an ethnic grocery store. They're worth the hunt!
  • Sweet Rice Flour - This flour is used to thicken the kimchi paste, helping it to stick to the veggies and give you lots of peppery, savory flavor in every bite! You could try corn starch as a thickener, but again, the sweet rice flour is worth the hunt! Check the Asian Cuisine section at your local grocery store, as well as ethnic grocery stores.

Now for the process! First you'll need to peel those radishes up, and cut them into 1" cubes. Your 3.5lbs of radishes should yield just a little over 3.0 lbs once the greens, tops and skins are peeled away. 

Optional: Weigh the radish pieces on a super-sketchy er.. vintage kitchen scale that you found when cleaning out your garage.

Now, sprinkle the salt and sugar over the radish pieces and mix to incorporate. Allow this to sit for at least one hour to draw the salt into the radishes and the water out! Out with the water IN WITH THE SALT!

While the radishes are brining, it's time to prepare the kimchi paste. To start, let's make the rice paste. First, wisk the water and rice flour together until there are no lumps. Bring the mixture just to a boil and remove from the heat and allow to cool. 

Combine all the other ingredients (except the green onions and pepper flakes) in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until smooth and fully blended. 

Rinse the radishes in a colander under fresh water to remove the excess salt and sugar. Drain and return to the bowl.

Chop the green onions into 1" pieces and add to the radish mixture. Pour the pepper flakes into the mixture and knead with gloved hands to incorporate. While some kkakdugi recipes call for mixing the pepper flakes into the kimchi paste, we've found that mixing them directly with the radishes adds a richer red color to the pieces. 

Add the kimchi paste to the mixture and mix again. Pack it into the fermenting jar or crock of your choice and ferment for 3 days at room temperature.

By day three, transfer the mixture to a container for storage and refrigerate. Feel free to sample at any time. The flavors will continue to develop and become richer as time goes on, even in the refrigerator.