Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)

DSC 1138 e1459217147234 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)

When I visited my parents the other day, they were making this nabak kimchi (나박김치). It’s definitely one of their favorite kimchi dishes! Nabak kimchi is a type of water kimchi that’s made with thinly sliced radish squares and other vegetables. It is easy to make, yet deliciously refreshing! The name of the kimchi stems from the way the radish is cut for this kimchi. Cutting into small, thin squares is called nabak sseolgi (나박썰기). Sseolgi refers to a cutting technique. Watching them make it, I realized I had not made this kimchi for a while, so I decided to make it for the blog!

Nabak kimchi is commonly enjoyed in the springtime when the kimchi made in the fall gets old. It’s also a traditional holiday kimchi. Growing up, we always had nabak kimchi with tteokguk (rice cake soup), which is a New Year soup. They are delicious together!

DSC 1164 e1459217316101 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)

It’s a mild, clean tasting kimchi, so nabak kimchi doesn’t call for fish sauce or salted shrimp. If you’ve been looking for a vegan kimchi, here’s one for you!

Radish and cabbage squares are lightly salted and then mixed with all other ingredients. The water is seasoned with salt, and colored lightly with gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) through a strainer or cheesecloth to keep the kimchi broth nice and clean. The garlic and ginger are thinly sliced, rather than minced, again to keep the broth clear.

The addition of Korean pear is traditional, but an apple is also commonly used. The fruit gives the kimchi a slight fruity sweetness. Minari (water dropwort), which is a crisp herb with a distinct taste, is also traditional and adds a delicately pleasant flavor to the kimchi.

DSC 1104 e1459218467926 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)

DSC 1138 150x150 1 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)

Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)

5 from 2 votes
Servings: 24
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Korean radish
  • 12 ounces napa cabbage inner yellowish leaves
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 Korean pear or an apple
  • 3 thin scallions
  • 6 to 8 stalks of minari - optional
  • 3 plump garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 thin ginger slices about 1 inch rounds
  • Salt
  • 1 gallon airtight container or jar

Instructions

  • Clean the radish by scrubbing with a brush and/or scratching off the stubborn impurities with a small knife. Do not peel the skin. Cut into about 1-inch thick discs. Cut each disc into 3 pieces, and then slice thinly into about 1-inch squares, placing in a large bowl.
    DSC 1060 e1459135763770 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)
  • Cut each leaf of the cabbage lengthwise into 1-inch wide pieces, and then crosswise into about 1-inch pieces. Add to the bowl with the radish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt, and toss well to evenly distribute the salt. Let it sit until wilted, about 30 minutes. Do not rinse.
    DSC 1074 e1459135651606 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)
  • In a small bowl, soak the gochugaru in 1/2 cup of water.
  • To cut the carrot into flower shapes, cut 3 to 4 ”‘V” shape grooves lengthwise, and then cut into thin slices. Or simply slice crosswise into thin rounds. Cut the pear into about 1-inch squares. Cut other vegetables into about 1-inch lengths. Add to the bowl with the salted radish and cabbage.
    DSC 1079 e1459135475679 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)
  • In a large bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in 10 cups of water. Strain the soaked gochugaru into the water through a fine mesh.
    DSC 1093 e1459135416784 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)
  • Pour the broth over the radish mix and stir well to combine everything. Adjust the seasoning to taste if necessary. It will actually be easier to handle if you place the radish mixture in the container or jar first, and then add the broth.
    DSC 1094 e1459135238839 - Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)
  • Keep it in an airtight container or jar. Leave it out at room temperature for a couple of days before storing in the fridge. The kimchi can be eaten within a few days. Stir to the bottom each time before taking some out to serve.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!