3medium to large Korean radishesabout 6.5 pounds - see note 1
1/3cupcoarse sea saltless if using finer salt
3 - 4scallionscut into about 1-inch lengths
2/3cupgochugaru고추가루, Korean red chili pepper flakes
1/4cupsaeujeot새우젓, salted shrimp, finely minced - see note 2
2tablespoonsmyulchiaekjeot멸치액젓, fish sauce
2tablespoonssugar (use more to taste or for summer radish)
a large bowl7 – 8 qt
a large colander
1gallonor 2 half-gallon airtight container or jar
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.)
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.
Meanwhile, prepare the seasoning ingredients. Mix everything well. Set it aside for a while for the red pepper flakes to dissolve a little and become pasty.
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.)
Place the radishes back in the bowl. Add the seasoning mix and scallions.
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.)
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. Kkakdugi tastes best after a week or two in the fridge to fully develop the flavors. It maintains great flavor and texture for several weeks.
1. Buy the ones with smooth skins that are firm and heavy. 2. If salted shrimp is not available, increase the fish sauce by the same amount.*Originally posted in Nov. 2011 and updated here with new photos and streamlined recipe steps.