Recipes

Radish water kimchi

Dongchimi 동치미

Dongchimi literally means “winter kimchi” because it’s traditionally made right before the cold winter starts in Korea. In late fall, we can find small, palm-sized radishes in the market, and we start thinking “Oh, it’s time to make dongchimi already!” The radishes harvested around that time of year are firm, crispy, and sweet.

But these days the small radishes are seen year ’round in Korean grocery stores here in North America. You can make dongchimi anytime, whenever you find good quality radishes.

Actually, you don’t have to stick to small radishes. I have to tell you about my grandmother’s dongchimi:

When I was high school in Seoul, I lived with my grandparents. My grandmother made her dongchimi in a huge earthenware pot. She used regular-sized radish which is very large, heavy, crispy, juicy, and sweet.

Some leftover radishes were wrapped in newspaper in a plastic bag. She peeled and cut them into sticks. That’s our snack! Crispy and sweet! But you can’t compare the sweetness with cupcakes or chocolate. It was sweet enough for us though. All of my siblings were eating radish sticks just like rabbits quietly, “sheguruk shegruk…” into the long winter night : ) When you find radishes where the green part is larger than the white part, they are usually sweeter.

When I was in my high school, I had 3 best friends. We sometimes cooked together, so every time we got together, we needed to decide what to cook. It was usually just a simple dessert such as fried apple fruit balls, kimchi jjigae, or Korean style curry rice.

My friends met in my house one day. They tasted my grandmother’s dongchimi when we had lunch together. All of them kept saying: “Wow, delicious, cool, ahh.. this is like pop soda!”

Yes, I usually drank the broth straight out of the bowl instead of using a spoon. Spooning was too slow to satisfy my thirst for the delicious broth.

Because my grandmother made a huge amount dongchimi, we could enjoy it for a long time. Her earthenware pots, filled with dongchimi, were in the corner of our garden and there was a layer of ice frozen on the top.

One day my friends and I were planning to get together in another friends’ house. Everybody asked each other what they would bring. My 3 friends said to me at the same time: “Dongchimi! Bring it in a big bucket!” : )

I didn’t learn this recipe from my grandmother. This recipe is my own mother’s recipe. When I visited her in LA, she let me taste her dongchimi. It was so tasty. My mother actually places the salted radish in a jar in a cool place at home for a couple of days instead of putting it in the fridge, as I do in the recipe. I modified her recipe a little by placing the jar in the fridge because lots of my readers are living in warm countries. What if their dongchimi goes bad during the salting process? Best to keep it in the fridge.

I will post my dongchimi guksu recipe soon. If you make dongchimi, it will be perfect timing to make guksu when my next video is released.

Enjoy this recipe! Salute! : )

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 small palm-sized Korean radishes, about 5 pounds’ worth (2 ½ kg)
  • ⅓ cup salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ts worth of ginger, minced
  • 2-3 green chili peppers, stemmed
  • 2-3 red chili peppers, washed and stemmed
  • 1 cup worth of Korean pear, cut into chunks (can be replaced with 2 sweet bosc pears)
  • 3 green onions (including the roots), washed and drained
  • ½ cup worth onion, sliced into pieces ¼ inch thick
  • 2 liters (9 cups) of water

You’ll also need a large glass jar that can hold 6 quarts (6 liters), or 24 cups.

dongchimi radish

Directions:

Salting

  1. Wash the radishes in cold water with a sponge to remove any dirt.
  2. Put ⅓ cup sea salt or kosher salt in a large and shallow bowl. Roll each radish in salt with your hands to coat evenly.
  3. Put the salted radish into the glass jar.
  4. Put some green radish leaves on top and add the leftover salt.
  5. Close the lid and keep it in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Adding water and spices

  1. Wrap ginger and garlic in cheese cloth and tie the ends. Place it inside the jar.
  2. Make a few tiny holes in red and green chili peppers with a fork, and add them to the jar.
  3. Add the onion, green onions, and pear.
  4. Pour in about 2 liters of water (9 cups) and stir the brine mixture with a wooden spoon to evenly distribute the salt.
  5. Close the lid and let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 days until it ferments. When it ferments, the brine will get a little milky and it will taste a little sour. It will also smell sour and some bubbles will float to the surface. At that point, always store it in the refrigerator and take some out whenever you serve it.

Serve

  1. Serve with rice, noodles, steamed sweet potato, steamed potato, or rice cake.
  2. Cut one radish into half lengthwise. Slice one of the halves into ⅛ inch thick half-moon shape pieces, or slice it into 1 ½ inch x ½ inch and ½ inch thick strips.
  3. Place it in a serving bowl and add the fermented brine
  4. Garnish with chopped green leaves, red and green chili pepper.
  5. Serve cold, with some ice cubes if you like.

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61 Comments:

  1. KoreanKraut PA My profile page joined 11/12
    Posted September 3rd, 2014 at 9:39 am | # |

    Maangchi,

    I followed your recipe, and was rewarded with the sweet sweet taste I remember from my youth. It is amazing how a smell or taste can take you back so many years, for me about 45 years, since I was able to enjoy that sweet briny taste. I have posted before, and once again Thank You for what you do. My mother passed away when I was young and I lost those wonderful smells, and tastes when she went. Today and through your recipes I can re-live those lost memories and enjoy such a re-birth of my heritage thru the delicious Korean cuisine.

    Thank you once again.

    Korean Kraut

    P.S. Some day I’ll have to come to NYC to meet you, it would be a pleasure.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 3rd, 2014 at 11:33 am | # |

      Thank you for sharing your touching story about your mom! Even though your mom passed away when you were very young, you still remember the taste and the smell of her food!

  2. mikalwilliams My profile page joined 5/11
    Posted June 9th, 2014 at 6:41 pm | # |

    Manngchi, after the 2 days at room temp I tested it. The brine is delicious but the radish were not fermeted, it has been about 70 degrees in the house. The radish was about the same size as in the video. Anyways, so I cut the radish in half length wise and out it back so it can ferment a little more. What do you think? Thank you.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 11th, 2014 at 11:19 am | # |

      yes, it’s normal. The brine will taste a little sour but the radish won’t. “I cut the radish in half length wise and out it back so it can ferment a little more.” smart! : )

  3. Polarean New Jersey My profile page joined 5/13
    Posted February 4th, 2014 at 6:17 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    This may seem like a simple question, but I don’t have cheese cloth! anything I can use instead? I have a metal strainer ball I use for soup, is that ok?

  4. Dan Seattle, Washington, US My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted June 14th, 2013 at 2:22 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi! A friend of mine wants to make these and he wonders if it’s OK to use a plastic container instead of a glass one. Basically we buy dong chi mi at the local Korean store and it comes in a plastic jar, so he was thinking of just using that. Does this sound OK or is glass preferable? Thanks!

  5. Nicole4ever Las Vegas, Nevada My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted May 30th, 2013 at 7:39 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I’ve been watching a lot of Korean cooking shows lately. This looks like the White Kimichi they make. Is it the same? I’ve been really wanting to try it. Sorry don’t have much experience with Korean cooking. Just what you’ve taught me. Thank you for your responses on my other posts.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 31st, 2013 at 6:17 am | # |

      yes, they look similar but different. White kimchi called baekkimchi is made with napa cabbage and dongchimi is usually made with radishes. And also the recipes are different. Baekkimchi is one of my upcoming recipes. Good luck with your Korean cooking! : )

  6. Polarean New Jersey My profile page joined 5/13
    Posted May 5th, 2013 at 12:29 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! My question is, after its finished, about how long is good for? My question goes for most kimchi as well. I know some kimchi tastes better after its fermented a lil longer, but is there ever a point where its actually “gone bad”?

  7. dragonlee London, England My profile page joined 12/12
    Posted March 4th, 2013 at 6:18 am | # |

    Hello! I was just wondering if I could change the pear to an apple?

  8. ang gelo Philippines My profile page joined 2/13
    Posted February 6th, 2013 at 6:54 am | # |

    Hi maangchi! Im about to try to make dongchimi and im real excited about it. However when i went to the grocery store, daikon radish is not available- only the long radishes are available. Can i use them for your recipe? If yes, do they taste the same? Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 6th, 2013 at 11:28 am | # |

      yes, any type of firm radishes will work well with this recipe. Good luck!

      • ang gelo Philippines My profile page joined 2/13
        Posted February 10th, 2013 at 1:38 am | # |

        Maangchi, i couldnt get rid of those brownish spots on the skin of my radishes so i peeled them. How would it affect my dongchimi??? Also i couldnt find radishes with green parts still on it but i continued salting my radishes without green leaves. Is it just okay? :-)

  9. Moonrose Austin, TX My profile page joined 1/12
    Posted August 10th, 2012 at 8:38 pm | # |

    The mu in my local korean mart were HUGE! I had to double-check they weren’t daikon, but they were the korean radishes, just the size of my arm up to the elbow!! Would it still be the same process if I just cut them down to pieces about the size of my fist? (small hands!) I bought some dongchimi already made so I can make guksu for my boyfriend and I, but I am looking forward to fermenting my first delicious thing =) I haven’t tried kimchi yet, I’m afraid our roommate might get cranky -.- He will have to just deal with it soon though, because I want to make my own for jjigae!

    gamsahapnida! ^_^

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 11th, 2012 at 11:13 am | # |

      “I just cut them down to pieces about the size of my fist?” yes, that’s a good idea. : )

  10. muskratbyte Fort Worth My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted August 1st, 2012 at 2:34 pm | # |

    As I use the broth to make cold water kimchi soup, the radishes are no longer covered and I’m worried they may spoil. Once I’ve used some of the broth, can I add more water to the water kimchi?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 2nd, 2012 at 9:10 am | # |

      “can I add more water to the water kimchi?” I wouldn’t do that.
      The best thing is to eat the radishes quickly.

  11. glacierkn WI, US My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted June 11th, 2012 at 4:27 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I tried this twice but the brine became thick and slimy after 2 days. I’m scared to eat it. Is it correct? (I used boiled and chilled water) Also, just out of curiosity, do you know why the brine turns milky colored? I really want this recipe to work because when I ate some after just one day of fermenting, it tasted so good!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 13th, 2012 at 10:08 am | # |

      ” the brine became thick and slimy after 2 days…” It’s very natural. Delicious taste from all the ingredients will be drawn out as time passes, so the broth will turn a little milky but it shouldn’t be slimy. Add more water and salt to dilute the broth then. Enjoy your delicious dongchimi! : )

  12. Helen Upland ca My profile page joined 6/12
    Posted June 11th, 2012 at 4:18 am | # |

    Hi,
    So i made my very first dong chi mi. Kim chi goong mool tastes great. The problem is the radish. Radish itself is not fermented at all. What should i do? What should i do?

  13. Jasper Philippines My profile page joined 5/11
    Posted June 6th, 2012 at 8:21 am | # |

    hi maangchi. when dongchimi is done, is it okay to store it outside the ref.? room temperature is about 20 degree celcius.. or should i keep in in the fridge?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 7th, 2012 at 9:40 am | # |

      Yes, after your dongchimi is fermented well, keep it in your refrigerator.

      • garpu Seattle My profile page joined 4/09
        Posted November 14th, 2012 at 11:44 am | # |

        How long does it last? I made some towards the end of July, and it still seems good. Broth isn’t slimy, radish is sweet/tangy/spicy/garlicy and still crunchy. Still OK?

  14. Jasper Philippines My profile page joined 5/11
    Posted June 4th, 2012 at 10:32 am | # |

    Wow Maangchi, I’m curious to know what dongchimi tastes like. It looks so strange to me, but in a nice way. There aren’t any Korean radishes near my place. The closest place where there are korean radishes is Baguio, which is a 3 hour drive away. Luckily, I’m heading off to Baguio tomorrow to enroll at university, so I might get some of these :)

  15. jj canada My profile page joined 6/12
    Posted June 1st, 2012 at 8:36 pm | # |

    Maangchi, I’ve been making so much delicious food from your blog lately- thank you for sharing. I’m really excited to make this dish, but when I came home with my radishes, I noticed that they are all too large to fit into my big glass jars. Is it okay to cut the radishes up or do I have to leave them whole when I begin the salting and pickling process?

  16. gmp73 My profile page joined 1/10
    Posted June 1st, 2012 at 7:47 pm | # |

    Maangchi,
    I LOVE this recipe!!.
    Thank you so much,
    I want to know option for keeping radish jar out of fridge for initial salting.
    (I know you don’t want it too warm)

    I.E., What temp is okay outside fridge and how long?
    Max

  17. garpu Seattle My profile page joined 4/09
    Posted May 31st, 2012 at 9:47 pm | # |

    If the store only has big radishes, can you cut them to fit into the jar?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 2nd, 2012 at 12:54 am | # |

      Yes, you can. Cut the radishes into chunks that fit in your glass jars

      • garpu Seattle My profile page joined 4/09
        Posted June 27th, 2012 at 11:33 pm | # |

        Cool, thanks! Does it take less than 4 days to brine, then? Or still salt it for 4 days?

  18. healthysaver USA My profile page joined 2/10
    Posted May 31st, 2012 at 12:10 pm | # |

    망치언니 안녕하세요.
    언니의 레시피보고 이제 막김치는 자주 성공합니다. 한국음식 좋아하는 미국인들에게 언니의 블로그 많이 알려주고 있어요. 엊그제 한국어로 한 찹쌀떡 비디오 보고 눈물이 다 났어요. 젊은 한국인들에게 한국음식을 알려주고자 하는 언니의 배려가 넘 고맙습니다.
    동치미! 제가 첫째 임신했을때 많이 먹고싶었는데 구할수가 없어서 못먹었던 기억이 있어요. 언니 레시피로 처음 만들어볼까 하는데요. 아이들을 위해서 맵지않게 만들고 싶은데 혹시 고추를 안 넣어도 동치미 맛이 날까요? 아 그리고 국물을 엄청 좋아하는데 국물을 언니가 만든 양보다 더 넣을려면 어떤 다른 재료도 더 넣어야 하나요? 앞으로도 좋은 비디오 부탁드려요. 감사합니다.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 31st, 2012 at 12:46 pm | # |

      “엊그제 한국어로 한 찹쌀떡 비디오 보고 눈물이 다 났어요” 저도 눈물이 나네요, 뭐 그런것 있잖아요? 옆사람이 우니까 그냥 따라서 우는… : ) 네 고추 넣지 말고 만들어도되요. 그리고 물을 너 넣으시려면 소금, 배, 양파 등도 더 많이 넣어야 맛있는 국물이 우러나겠죠? 다른분들을 위해 영어로 다시 쓸께요.

      Yes, you don’t have to use green chili peppers if you like to make non-spicy version for your children. If you want to add more water to make more broth, be sure to add more salt, pear, onion, and garlic..etc so that the broth won’t be bland but delicious.
      Good luck with your Korean cooking!

  19. Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
    Posted May 29th, 2012 at 1:30 pm | # |

    How did it turn out.

  20. junghwa Mongolia My profile page joined 5/12
    Posted May 20th, 2012 at 12:28 pm | # |

    아~ 드디어 가입하는데 성공했습니다 ㅎ
    몇번이나 시도해도 안되던데 유튜브에 망치님이 남겨두신 답글보고
    힘을 얻어 다시 섬세하게 (ㅋㅋ) 가입을 하니 가입이 되네요..
    반갑습니다~
    저는 몽골에서 살고 있는데 요즘 망치님 블로그 보는 것에
    완전 빠져있습니다^^
    앞으로 망치님과 많이 친해지고 싶습니다 ㅎㅎ

  21. susannevh rotterdam, the netherland My profile page I'm a fan! joined 3/09
    Posted May 16th, 2012 at 1:48 pm | # |

    Thank you for this receipe.. I have tried to make this receipe for many times… It’s my absolute favorite… but I have failed many times… finally a proper receipe thank you soo much,. We miss U all. XXX susanne Gijs Julius and Yon

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 21st, 2012 at 12:08 am | # |

      I hope your dongchimi turns out very delicious! I miss you and your family too! Thanks to you and Reinier, there is a Korean food boom in the Netherlands! That’s awesome!

  22. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/09
    Posted May 16th, 2012 at 12:59 pm | # |

    I want to make this, but the korean radish is not available here (looked everywhere), could i use daikon?

  23. janicedale Australia My profile page joined 2/12
    Posted May 15th, 2012 at 3:27 am | # |

    I’ve tasted it already and the water kimchi’s taste is too sour but it is very refreshing when you eat this. I wanted to learn how to make this water kimchi and Maangchi provided a good post about this. Thank you for sharing Korean cuisine.

  24. Dark_Kunoichi My profile page joined 3/11
    Posted May 13th, 2012 at 3:22 pm | # |

    Wow Maangchi, this sounds so tasty! I can’t wait to try making some. Do you have to do anything special to the jar to sterilize it beforehand other than washing it really well?

  25. Soju123 New York, NY My profile page I'm a fan! joined 3/11
    Posted May 8th, 2012 at 11:15 am | # |

    How exciting! I’ve been hoping for this recipe for a long time. Now I just need to find a large enough glass jar. Thanks Maangchi!

  26. DominiqueEchard North Carolina My profile page joined 5/09
    Posted May 8th, 2012 at 11:07 am | # |

    This is great, Maangchi! I’m living in North Carolina again (just left Long Island – I regret not ever being able to meet you in the City) and it gets nice and hot here! What a great way to cool down with some delicious dongchimi. I’m looking forward to stocking my house again with great Korean food :) It doesn’t quite feel like a home yet without it!

    P.S. I love the Korean language videos.

  27. powerplantop Louisiana My profile page I'm a fan! joined 6/09
    Posted May 8th, 2012 at 9:20 am | # |

    That looks really good!

  28. soko2usa Minnesota My profile page joined 4/09
    Posted May 8th, 2012 at 5:15 am | # |

    Woo! I’ve been wanting to learn more radish kimchi recipes! Thank you for posting this!

    Kerri

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 16th, 2012 at 8:49 am | # |

      Kerri,
      I know your dongchimi is being fermented at the moment! : )

      • soko2usa Minnesota My profile page joined 4/09
        Posted May 29th, 2012 at 2:44 am | # |

        I finally had to take the peppers out of my dongchimi – some of them had broken open and they were making the broth SO spicy. I also added extra water to make up for the broth I had already taken out. So that all helps!

  29. sl100048 Singapore My profile page joined 6/11
    Posted May 7th, 2012 at 11:46 pm | # |

    Thanks Maangchi,
    Fabulouse recipe! I was really looking for an authentic water kimchi (dongchimi) to survive in a warm country. I am definitely trying this. Can’t wait for the dongchimi noodle recipe!

    JY from Singapore


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