Yellow pickled radish

Danmuji 단무지

Today I’m going to show you how to make your own yellow pickled radish, called danmuji in Korean. It’s a crispy, tangy, refreshing side dish and an essential ingredient in gimbap, Korean seaweed rice rolls.

I know that some of my regular readers and YouTube viewers have been waiting for this recipe for a while. Thank you for your patience! I’ve actually been working on this recipe off and on for years, and after much experimentation, I’ve come up with this delicious, accessible, foolproof version anyone can make!

I use gardenia fruits (chija in Korean) to give these radishes a nice yellow color, naturally, and I use rice bran to give them a deep aftertaste. The resulting radish tastes good and is also really beautiful. Most important to me is that this danmuji is made with all natural ingredients. Many Koreans think chija is good for your health: good for insomnia, jaundice, and is anti-inflammatory. It sounds like a panacea! When I heard this I bought a big bag of chija and have been using it as often as I can.

I’m forever grateful to my readers for requesting this recipe, because without them, I would never have tried to make danmuji at home. It’s pretty easy for me to buy it in a Korean grocery store, but like everything else, homemade is much better, more delicious, and more satisfying. Now I make danmuji at home all the time, I just love it!

I encourage you to give it a try! Good luck with making danmuji!

Korean yellow pickled radish (danmuji: 단무지)

Ingredients (makes 4 pounds of danmuji)


Make the pickle mixture:

  1. Crush the chija in a plastic bag. Transfer to a sauce pan. Add 1½ cup water, cover, and boil for 20 minutes over medium high heat.
    Gardenia fruits (chija:치자)Gardenia fruits (chija:치자)
  2. Remove from the heat and strain the solids over a bowl. Put them into a cheesecloth folded over a few times, with the top tied to make a pouch.
  3. Put the strained chija water (about ⅓ cup) into a measuring cup. Add enough cold water to top it up to 1 cup.
  4. Rinse out the sauce pan and put the cup of strained chija water back into it. Add the salt, sugar, vinegar, and the rice bran. Mix well and set aside.making danmuji (yellow pickled radish making)

Make danmuji:

  1. Use a peeler to remove any brown spots and roots from the daikon.
  2. Cut the tops and bottoms off the daikons so the the radishes are about 10 inches long. They should be able to fit comfortably into a gallon ziplock bag. Add the leftover tops and bottoms, too.daikon
  3. Add the pickle mixture and close the bag. Press gently and move the bag around, upside down and rightside up, so everything gets well mixed. Open the bag and add the gardenia pouch, too.Korean yellow pickled radish (danmuji: 단무지)
  4. Double bag with plastic bags. Refrigerate.

Ferment danmuji:

  1. 24 hours later, take the radishes out of the refrigerator.
  2. Press and massage the radishes through the ziplock bag to mix everything well. Turn it upside down and rightside up a few times. Squeeze the pouch, too.
  3. Ferment for 1 month, taking it out every other day and giving it a good mix.

Serve danmuji:

  1. It should be ready to eat in one month. Discard the pouch, and take out as much radish as you’ll need for a serving. Keep the rest in the bag.
  2. Wash the radish well. Slice, and eat.

Korean yellow pickled radish (danmuji: 단무지)


Other delicious stuff on maangchi.com:


  1. halamango My profile page joined 8/15
    Posted August 10th, 2015 at 3:37 pm | # |

    Thank you for a great recipe. Anxious to make danmuji, but have a very elementary question: do I dry the daikon for three days in the refrigerator or in open air?

  2. munchkin My profile page joined 6/15
    Posted June 30th, 2015 at 5:19 pm | # |

    Maangchi, do you think i could also use saffron instead of gardenias. or is the gardenia flavour essential?

  3. mousepudding My profile page joined 6/15
    Posted June 25th, 2015 at 10:24 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I am really eager to make some gimbap, and so when I was in the Korean supermarket yesterday, I happened to pick up a package of danmuji and start reading the ingredients. Big mistake! I was horrified by the crazy stuff they are putting in there: Saccharine, aspartame, MSG, sodium benzoate, and every artificial yellow dye known to man. I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase the stuff. I guess that’s one more reason to make your own at home. Not sure I can wait a whole month for the gimbap though. :-(
    Love your videos! Keep them coming!

  4. kimchiaddict My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted June 7th, 2015 at 8:41 pm | # |

    Help me, Maangchi! I just unpacked my danmuji and I think it didn’t ferment at all. No smell at all! Is it because it was put in the fridge as soon as it was packed? Shouldn’t it have a couple of days at room temp., to start fermentation like for Kimchis? The taste is not bad at all, a bit too salty, probably from no fermentation. And hardly any sour taste… Also as I had put in less sugar than your recipe, I put the danmuji and its juice in a glass pot, and added a tbs. of rice syrup, and am leaving it out to see if it starts fermenting. I also prepared some salted squid, and will leave it out until I smell some fermentation, and then I’ll keep it in the fridge for a month. Is all that ok?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 9th, 2015 at 11:45 am | # |

      Well made danmuji won’t taste sour like kimchi and it won’t have a distinctive smell, either. But the aftertaste will be better. “I had put in less sugar than your recipe,…” Add some more sugar or any sweetener to your taste. When you serve it, cut it into bite size pieces and drizzle a little bit of vinegar.

      • kimchiaddict My profile page joined 4/15
        Posted June 9th, 2015 at 2:50 pm | # |

        thanks Maangchi! anyway my chija danmuji is so much better than store bought Phosphorescent Yellow and aspartame Takuan…! and even more with a drop of gukganjang (such a REAL taste!) and (Korean brown rice) vinegar, as you said. so, I’ll start another batch soon, or I’ll have eaten all of this one long before the month is over! and I now understand why danmuji doesn’t ferment, there is vinegar in it! maybe I’ll try 2/3rd of a cup of vinegar next.
        BTW, did you talk with that site that copied your recipes?

  5. HanaL My profile page joined 5/15
    Posted May 25th, 2015 at 2:15 pm | # |

    I was reading the ingredients for this on the package at Super Market and it said it can cause cancer, so I didn’t buy it. With your homemade recipe I can try it out now. Thanks Maangchi.

  6. kimchiaddict My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 2:37 pm | # |

    sorry for the large pix, and thanks for all your help. um grande abraco.

  7. kimchiaddict My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted May 20th, 2015 at 2:30 pm | # |

    hi maanchi, i know this is rice bran, as i looked up the ideograms, but does it say ‘made in korea’, or ‘made in brasil’ .
    not a very important question, but if u have a minute to answer it, i would be very grateful…

    See full size image

  8. Lynnjamin New York My profile page I'm a fan! joined 11/14
    Posted May 13th, 2015 at 11:58 am | # |

    Finally Danmuji is ready! It came out crunchy, a little salty, not too sweet. A tiny bitter taste too, and it’s nice. But boy, it smells fuuuuunky while it ferments. Even my Japanese room mate, who knows all about pickled radish called Takuan said “oh my gaaaawd” when I opened the container. :)

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 14th, 2015 at 10:20 am | # |

      oh my! Gorgeous color! Yes, it tastes a little bitter because of the natural coloring from gardenia fruits (chija). “oh my gaaaawd” when I opened the container” lol

  9. HuongD My profile page joined 5/15
    Posted May 8th, 2015 at 3:08 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi !
    What can I use instead of gardenia fruits because I do not want food colour and do you know where it can be easily bought and can I use raw or brown sugar instead of the turbinado sugar?

    • HuongD My profile page joined 5/15
      Posted May 8th, 2015 at 3:11 am | # |

      and can I make this danmuji without any colour? thank you it will be great if you are able to answer my questions

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 8th, 2015 at 4:16 am | # |

      You could use brown sugar but it will make your danmuji brownish. I would use white sugar.

    • 631suzta My profile page joined 6/15
      Posted June 9th, 2015 at 10:58 am | # |

      You can get gardenia fruit at most chain health food or vitamin stores. In addition, it’s sold on ebay and amazon. Most people don’t look there for food, but they carry almost every unusual food ingredient I ever looked for there. Just keep an eye on the prices- sometimes ebay is best, sometimes amazon.

  10. Glasierz28 Indonesia My profile page joined 2/15
    Posted April 28th, 2015 at 3:44 am | # |

    Hello, I want to ask you. If I dont have 치자, can I change it with yellow food colour? And then what is fungsional of rice bran

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 28th, 2015 at 4:28 am | # |

      Yes, you can use yellow food coloring. Rice bran will give danmuji a deep aftertaste. You can use plain rice flour if rice bran is not available. Good luck with making good danmuji!

  11. mabamed My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 25th, 2015 at 10:51 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi,
    Another great recipe from you. Thank you so much. For friends who can’t find chija/gardenia fruit, it is easier to get it than you think. Just go to your nearest chinatown, look for a chinese medical herbs shop, ask for ‘san zhi zi’ there, or just show a picture of it. Usually, the shop will have it.

  12. ThomasLim My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 21st, 2015 at 6:19 am | # |

    Hey Maangchi,I cant find chija and rice bran….Is it still ok to make this with just water,salt,sugar and vinegar? it’s called white pickled radish am i right?

    I really wanna make this but i cant find Chija and Rice Bran :(

  13. kray4kfood My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 15th, 2015 at 6:52 pm | # |

    Looks so delicious! Can not wait to try this recipe!

  14. Oxide California My profile page joined 2/15
    Posted April 12th, 2015 at 5:12 pm | # |

    Your posting this recipe now is very timely because the gardenias are just starting to bloom. After watching the video I went out to look at my gardenias. I think what you call the “fruit” (chija) is actually the bud of an unopened gardenia flower. I had no idea they were edible.

    See full size image

  15. peonygirl portland, oregon My profile page joined 8/09
    Posted April 11th, 2015 at 11:11 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I can’t tell enough how grateful I am for this recipe! I love this radish but the ones in the stores all contain aspartame! Not good!
    Now I can make yummy kim bap and radish side dish. Thank you !!!!

    In your new cookbook, did you include Gye tang? Crab stew???
    Thanks Maangchi!


    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 12th, 2015 at 8:39 am | # |

      Hi Lisa,
      My new cookbook has seafood stew (haemul-jeongol) and one of the ingredients is crab. You will love it.

    • Lynnjamin New York My profile page I'm a fan! joined 11/14
      Posted April 22nd, 2015 at 2:32 pm | # |

      Glad you mentioned the aspartame. I wish someone could give me a good reason why they put that stuff in the danmuji. Makes no sense! I live near about one million Korean grocery stores. Not one single store sells danmuji without saccharine or aspartame. I’m glad, in a way. Motivates me to make my own!

  16. Derms Manitoba My profile page joined 1/15
    Posted April 10th, 2015 at 11:50 am | # |

    Where did you get the lunch box? I’ve been looking for one like the for a long time.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 12th, 2015 at 8:27 am | # |

      I bought it in Korea but you may be able to find a similar one at a Korean grocery store.

      • peonygirl portland, oregon My profile page joined 8/09
        Posted April 12th, 2015 at 12:42 pm | # |

        Oh Thank you Maangchi! I will definitely get your book. By the way, my daughter, who is 10 years old, loves your videos!!

  17. Myotis My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 10th, 2015 at 4:52 am | # |

    A great recipe once again Maangchi. I love cooking your recipes for my family and friends. And they seem to love it too!
    Tuna pancakes are one of my favorite. I noticed that the tuna pancakes are a bit different in this video. They look more yellow and with more ingredients inside. What did you use? I think there is green onions and red peppers maybe?
    Thanks again, from France!

  18. Donnarz Iloilo,Philippines My profile page I'm a fan! joined 12/14
    Posted April 9th, 2015 at 10:52 pm | # |

    how i wish i can make this maangchi. i haven’t seen yet this fruit here in philippines.il try here in korean store.. is it only color or it has a taste also? for yellow color i’ve only seen here turmeric.
    mouthwatering food i want that lunchbox :( heheh..

    • jordanmattes Arlington, WA, USA My profile page joined 11/11
      Posted April 10th, 2015 at 6:13 am | # |

      Japanese use turmeric traditionally to provide color to this. It will be fine, but make sure you use fresh turmeric so the color is better and there’s no bitter taste.

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