Kkakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi)

Kkakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi)
Korean radish, mu (or moo), is in season! They simply taste best this time of the year. Korean radish is a variety of white radish (aka daikon) and has firm crisp flesh and a slightly sweet and peppery taste. I’ve been taking advantage of the season and cooking many radish dishes, such as mu guk (soup), musaengchae (spicy salad), mu namul (stir-fried), and, of course, kkakdugi, which is a popular variety of kimchi. It’s kimchi-making season in Korea. So, I decided to show you all how to make kkakdugi this time.

Kkakdugi is an easy and quick kimchi to make. The radishes are first cubed and salted for a short time and then mixed with the seasonings. The name kkakdugi comes from how the radish is cut — cubed.

Kkakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi)

The taste of kimchi depends a lot on the types, the quality, and the ratio of the seasoning ingredients. Each Korean household has its own ways.

Traditionally, various jeotgal (salted seafood) are used in kimchi for the distinct pungency and depth of flavors. Saeujeot (salted shrimp) and myulchiaekjeot (fish sauce made with anchovies) are the two that are most commonly used. I almost always use both of these in my kimchi, as well as some fresh shrimp which is my mother’s secret ingredient for adding extra freshness to the kimchi flavor. If you can’t find saeujeot (salted shrimp) in your area, at least use some raw shrimp. It will make a huge difference.

Kkakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi)

Kkakdugi can be enjoyed with any Korean meal, but it’s especially good with a bowl of mild soup such as seolleongtang. It’s a delicious side dish that will add a pungent kick and some crunch to a meal!

kkakdugi recipe

Kkakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi)
Serves 48
Kkakdugi is an easy and quick kimchi to make. Here's a foolproof recipe!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 medium to large Korean radishes (about 6 pounds) - see note 1
  2. 1/3 cup coarse sea salt (less if using finer salt)
  3. 3 - 4 scallions, cut into about 1-inch lengths
Seasonings
  1. 1 teaspoon chapssalgaru (찹쌀가루), glutinous rice (sweet rice) powder
  2. (Mix it with 1/3 cup water, simmer over low heat until
  3. thickens to a thin paste and cool. Yields about 3 tablespoons.)
  4. 2/3 cup gochugaru (고추가루), Korean red chili pepper flakes
  5. 1/4 cup saeujeot (새우젓), salted shrimp, finely minced - see note 2
  6. 2 tablespoons myulchiaekjeot (멸치액젓), fish sauce
  7. 3 - 4 raw shrimp (about 2 ounces), finely minced or ground
  8. 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  9. 1 teaspoon grated ginger
Kitchen Tools
  1. a large bowl (7 – 8 qt)
  2. a large colander
  3. kitchen gloves
  4. 1 gallon (or 2 half-gallon) airtight container or jar
Instructions
  1. Clean the radishes by scrubbing with a brush and/or scratching off the stubborn impurities with a small knife. Peel the skin only if necessary. You don’t need to peel if the skin is smooth and clean. Cut into 1-inch thick discs, and then cut each disc into 1-inch cubes, placing in a large bowl. (The cubes will look big but will shrink during the salting and fermentation processes.)
    kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi)
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the radishes and toss well to coat evenly. Let sit for about 30 – 40 minutes until the radish cubes have softened and released some liquid.
    kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi)
  3. Meanwhile, make the glutinous rice paste and cool. Prepare the other seasoning ingredients. Mix everything, including the rice paste, well. Set it aside for a while for the red pepper flakes to dissolve a little and become pasty.
    kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi)
  4. Drain the radishes in a colander and discard the liquid. Do NOT rinse. Rinsing will wash the flavor away. (The radishes still contain sufficient water content that will be released during the fermentation process. With this method, the resulting kkakdugi will have a nice thick juice.)
    kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi)
  5. Place the radishes back in the bowl. Add the seasonings and scallions.
    kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi)
  6. Mix everything well, preferably by hand, until the radish cubes are evenly coated with the seasonings. (Make sure to wear kitchen gloves.) Taste a little bit of the seasoning off of a radish cube. It should be a little too salty to eat as is. Add more salted shrimp or fish sauce if necessary. (The radishes will be a little dry at this point, but they will release water during the fermentation process.)kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi)
  7. Store in an airtight container or jar. Before closing the lid, press the kkakdugi down hard with your hand to remove air pockets between the radish cubes. Leave it out at room temperature for a full day or two, depending on the room temperature and how fast you want your kimchi to ripe. Then, store in the fridge. Although you can start eating it any time, kkakdugi needs about two weeks in the fridge to fully develop the flavors. It maintains great flavor and texture for several weeks. To me, kkakdugi tastes best when fully fermented, making it a little sour, but that is certainly a matter of personal preference.
Notes
  1. 1. Buy the ones with smooth skins that are firm and heavy.
  2. 2. If salted shrimp is not available, increase the fish sauce by the same amount.
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Comments

  1. Kkakdugi is my absolute favorite and I'm definitely trying this. Thanks for the step by step!
  2. Azusa - Thank you! My family and friends love my kkakdugi. Hope you like it too.
  3. This looks amazing - I've been able to recreate cabbage kimchi, with varying degrees of success, but the times I've tried radish kimchi have been disastrous. You make it look very easy, although I've never seen "glutinous rice paste" - I'll need to check one of the Korean supermarkets in Paris for this stuff! Thanks for sharing this :)
  4. Hi Hyosun
    Kkakdugi/radish kimchi makes me crave for a pot of nice beef-the ox tail bone marrow(?)-soup. It was the ultimate Korean winter comfort meal as a child.
    Thanks for sharing.
  5. I love kimchi! I have even made it twice, but every time something went wrong and it wasn't perfect. I guess this is the kind of preparation which gets better with practice. Having real Korean chili counts a lot too.
    Your kimchi looks perfect! I think I know what my next Korean dish will be;-) (Especially since I discovered last week a shop selling big bags of Korean chili!)
  6. thank you for this recipe! however how do you make glutinous rice paste?
  7. ooooohh I love these! Just love them .... Could eat them with rice all day long.
  8. Oh I have one question Hyosun! My Korean friend always bought me "white" kimchi because he knows I don't eat spicy kimchi. Do you know how to make it? I enjoy it very much. I will need to learn eating spicy food though. This is so beautiful! My mom will be very happy if I make this for her. =)
  9. So you leave the minced or ground fresh shrimp raw or cook it? Thanks.
  10. Charles - I revised it a little to show it's glutinous rice powder you buy, not paste. Hope you try this recipe and let me know how it turns out. This is how I do it every time, and the result is always great.

    Holly - I love ox tail soup with kkakdugi too! Then again, who doesn't?

    Sissi - You nailed it! The quality of Korean red chili pepper flakes is actually the most important factor for great kimchi.

    Jesica - Thank you! Hope you get to make your own!

    Nami - Thank you! White kimchi is pretty much kimchi without red pepper flakes. It's very refreshing, and I make it sometimes. I hope to post it soon.
  11. Anonymous - Please see the note under glutinous rice powder under ingredient for how to make the paste. Thanks!

    It is raw minced shrimp that's added to the kimchi, and due to salt content in kimchi, the shrimp will ferment during the fermentation process. Thanks!
  12. I had almost forgotten that radish is in season! Thanks for the reminder! We love kkakdugi (but I hardly ever make it myself) as well as mu guk. I'll put both of them on "the menu!" :)

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
  13. I love kimchi but I have never tried radish kimchi. I don't know where to get Korean radishes in Germany...:(. I can imagine that this radish kimchi must be so crunchy and yummy!
  14. Andrea - Hope you get make them soon. Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

    Cooking Gallery - Try with other daikon varieties if you can find. Thanks for visiting!
  15. This post is making my mouth water! I just ate some kkakdugi last week with a steaming bowl of sulluntang at a hole in the wall restaurant in Los Angeles. My mom used to take the family there when I was young, and now that I live in LA, I am spoiled with plentiful Korean food and grocery stores. It's time to start learning to make it myself. Thanks for the recipe!
  16. I enjoy kkakdugi and it is the first kimchi I learned to make from a cookbook using salted shrimp. I now know why my friend who lives in the UK call radish mooli :)
  17. This blog has been featured on Tasting Korea:) Please check it out.
  18. Sarah - Kkakdugi is so good with sullungtang. Thanks for visiting! Hope you try to make this at home one day.

    Biren - I saw your kkakdugi on your blog. It looked great! Thanks for visiting.

    Tasting Korea - Thanks!
  19. Hyosun, I have made your radish kimchi and it is excellent! Thank you for the wonderful recipe (I have slightly modified it, but I hope it's still komchi ;-) )
  20. Anonymous says:
    Hello Hyosun, greetings from Singapore! I made baechu kimchi and kkakdugi today and they both look pretty well, so thanks for the awesome recipes! I have one question though, I worry that my kkakdugi paste is too salty, is there any way I can do to salvage it? Thanks and have a great day! =)

    Joanne
  21. Hi Joanne, how are you? Thanks for trying out my recipes. I am not sure how salty it is, but should get better as it ferments and releases more water. It will be much better when fully fermented, so you can leave it out more to expedite the process. However, if you think it is way too salty, you can add some water to dilute it a little now. Also, you can use it for kimchi jjigae or dice them up for kimchi fried rice, etc., when fully fermemnted, if it's still too salty. Did you use coarse sea salt? Hope this helps. Please let me know how it turns out. Happy New Year!
    • Anonymous says:
      Hi Hyosun, Happy New Year to you too! I added more water and it turned out just right! I did use coarse sea salt but perhaps I was too overenthusiastic in salting the radish =P Thanks for the tip and have a great day ahead!

      Joanne
    • Hi Joanne - Happy to hear that. Thanks for letting me know. Happy cooking!
  22. Anonymous says:
    hi Hyosun, great pictures and instructions on your site. I made the Kkakdugi yesterday and it smelled and tasted so good I ate it with dinner. I think the raw prawn and shrimp paste was not fully fermented, it gave me a grumbly tummy all night. How long should I leave it out to ferment before it is safe to eat? I left it out all day today. Also, I didn't put enough pepper flakes in, can I add more at this stage?

    My whole family have now adopted korean food and the banchan's are great for busy working mums like me to ensure our kids get a variety of veges every night. Keep up the good work!

    Joyce
    • Hi Joyce - Thank you so much for the good words. It's best to ferment it slowly in the fridge. So if you had it out all day, I'd strongly suggest putting it in the fridge now. Wait one to two weeks before start eating. You can omit raw shrimp next time if you're sensitive to it.
    • oh also you can add more pepper flakes now. The sooner is the better.
  23. Hi! I actually made this three times and twice it turned out perfectly! But the third time, the cubes got too soft even before I put it in the fridge! I was wondering if you knew why that happened. I thought I did everything exactly...Please help!
    • Hi Jenn - If you used all the same ingredients and your radish was good to begin with, it might be that it wasn't salty enough or being left out at high room temperature too long, i.e., I've heard some bad gochugaru does that too, not sure that's true. Do you think any of these apply? Please let me know. Thanks!
  24. The high temperature must have been it! I left it out for a day and a half and it was really hot...wow. Darn it! I love your recipe though and my mom thinks it's perfect as well. Thank you so much! Love your blog!
  25. Hi Hyosun,

    I bough some salted baby shrimp earlier this year. There was no expiration date on the jar. Do you know how long I can keep it in my fridge?
    • Hi Kathy - It should last long (months), especially if it was unopened. You can tell by its color and smell. If it turned yellowish and smells funny, then don't use it. It stays fresh longer if you keep it in the freezer. Hope this helps.
  26. Hi Hyosun,

    I tried making this 2 days ago and it came out bland. When I tasted it before letting it sit to ferment it was perfect. After placing it in the fridge for a day then taste it again, the kimchi was bland and not salty enough. Is there anything I can do at this point to correct it? Or should I add more salt next time when making a new batch? Thanks!
    • You can add some fish sauce or salted shrimp (or salt) now - the sooner is the better. Also, the flavor will develop during the fermentation process, so it will taste better even without more salt. Remember next time that the kimchi seasoning should be a bit too salty to eat as is at first. The salt level will diminish during the fermentation process. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers!
  27. anyunghaseyo, hyosun! why does gochukaro have an expiration date on the bag? Does it really expire, and if so, what happens to it? I have some that a friend gave me when she moved, but it is a few years past the expiration date! Your thoughts are appreciated. Thank you!
    • Gochugaru doesn't taste good if it's that old. The color is probably bad as well. The fresh gochugaru will keep well for a couple of years in the freezer. You can try to use it and see if it tastes okay. But, a few years is a long time for gochugaru. Sorry this may not be a good news for you. Cheers!
  28. Anonymous says:
    hi Hyosun, it's Joyce again (from Aug12 post). I've been following this recipe to make Kkakdugi 3 times now. Each times it turns out too salty and the texture of the moo cubes goes soft after 5-6 weeks in the fridge. I used sea salt and tries to follow most of the measurements and portions. Should I wash the radish after salting or just less of the juices in the end broth? The rice flour paste/soup also comes out very thick.

    I'm about to harvest my first crop of daikon from the garden. The first one I pulled out last week was about 2 ft x 2 inches thick, and we used that to make your beef & radish soup. The kids loved it so much they drank 2 bowls each, yum!

    I know you're busy, if you have time can you give me some ideas what do to with them all while they are fresh? I've got about 8-10 of similar size daikons to harvest, and we already have a big jar of Dongchimi in the fridge. My kids are still young, so can't take too spicy dishes as yet. My youngest loves your Dongchimi, he can eat it by the mouthful!

    Thanks again!
    Joyce
    • Hi Joyce! You said "Should I wash the radish after salting or just less of the juices in the end broth?" I'm not sure what you mean by "less of the juices in the end broth". Are you using the liquid generated by salting the radish? My recipe says "Drain the radishes in a colander and discard the liquid. Do NOT rinse." If you're doing this but it's still salty, just use less salt next time. It's okay the flour paste to be thick, but you can add more water to make it thinner.

      Are you using Korean radish or Japanese daikon? Japanese daikon tends to be softer, which is not ideal for kkakdugi. Also, kkakdugi tends to get a little softer when it gets really old. If it gets too soft prematurely, it could be some ingredients or fermented too soon at the high temperature. I've heard some bad gochugaru does that too.

      It's so cool you grow radishes in your garden. Are they Korean radish? Have you made mu namul? How about mu saengchae? Both are on this blog. Also, you can cut them up into finger sizes and dry them. Koreans do that to preserve radish for later use. You can simply soak them later and make "muchim" with spicy seasoning. I haven't posted a recipe for that yet, but it's on my list.

      Hope this helps. Thanks always for using my recipes and providing feedback!
  29. Is it ok if i dont use the prawn? Or can i boil the prawn first?
  30. Can I add 1/2 of grated apple to this to make it sweeter and softer but yet still crunchy?
  31. If I want this spicy and sweet, how many Tablespoons of sugar should I add?
  32. Awesome recipes! I've been printing several off to have on hand, but I can't find the printer friendly option for this page. Am I missing it, or is it just not here?