Chayote belongs to the gourd family and is a vegetable native to Mexico and Central America. It’s not a usual Korean cooking ingredient, but I found that it works very well as a substitute for Korean radish when making kkakdugi (Cubed radish kimchi)style kimchi. Koreans say there are almost two hundreds kinds of kimchi, but today I’m adding 1 more! So far nobody has ever posted a kimchi recipe made with chayote!

This chayote kimchi is crispy, spicy, and refreshing, and is a great side dish for rice and soups like my recent oxtail soup, or soybean sprouts soup. But you can serve it on the side with anything, and eat it as you would a pickle.

I love Korean kkakdugi, but this chayote kimchi is becoming my new favorite and I make it all the time. It’s just as crispy, crunchy, and tangy as kkakdugi, but the chayote is a little sweet like a firm melon, and as it ferments it never goes soggy and always crispy.

I’m not a nutritionist but I’ve since come to learn that chayote is a healthy food that contains many essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, many antioxidants, is low in calories, fat, sodium, and carbs, and is good for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor blood flow, and even fighting cancer. It’s good for you, and when you make kimchi from it you also get all the probiotic benefits as well. Plus, it’s delicious!


  • 3 pounds deseeded chayotes (4 large chayotes)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon peeled ginger
  • ⅓ cup worth onion
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 4 green onions, sliced diagonally
  • ½ cup gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)


  1. Cut a chayote in half lengthwise and remove the inner seed. Slice each half into ½ inch thick pieces lengthwise and then cut each piece crosswise into roughly ½ inch cubes. Transfer the cubes to a large bowl. Repeat with the rest of chayotes.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt and mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes, turning it over every 10 minutes to salt evenly.kkakdugi made with chayote
  3. Pour out the excess brine to a blender. Add garlic, ginger, onion, and fish sauce (or soy sauce). Blend 1 minute until soft and creamy.
  4. Add the mixture to the chayote chunks. Add gochu-garu (Korean hot pepper flakes), green onion, and mix all together by hand. You can wear a disposable glove if desired. Transfer it to a jar or an airtight container. Press down the top of the kimchi and cover.Chayote kimchi (차요테김치)chayote kimchi
  5. You can serve it right away with rice. If you like to ferment your kimchi faster, you can keep it outside the fridge. Usually it will take a few days to ferment at room temperature, but if you live in a warm country it may only take 1 day because of the higher temperatures. When the kimchi is fermented, it tastes sour. Be sure to store it in the fridge and enjoy it until it runs out.

From the top, chayote kimchi, spinach side dish, fish skin chips (The recipe will come in the future), and Korean style curry rice.

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  1. NicoleJLeBoeuf Boulder, Colorado, USA joined 9/21 & has 3 comments

    In New Orleans, we call this vegetable “mirliton”, and lots of people grow it in their backyards. I grew up eating my grandmother’s shrimp-and-mirliton casserole at big family holiday gatherings. Now that I live in Colorado I get very homesick for mirliton, and very excited when I see it at the grocery store. Usually I look for it at Latino mercados and Asian groceries, but once in a long while one of the U.S. mainstream groceries chains will have it.

    I haven’t done much with chayote/mirliton other than casseroles and, once, soup. Looking forward to trying the kimchi!

  2. freldici France joined 6/20 & has 33 comments

    Hi Maangchi ! Voici mon kimchi de chayote ! Beaucoup moins de piment que toi !!!! Mais tellement savoureux et juteux : un bonheur Cindy, Paris, France

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  3. Ingridevina Jakarta, Indonesia joined 4/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, you have saved my family from starvation during this covid-19 quarantine. I have tried many of your recipes and it never fails! Now i am giving myslef more challenge to make my own kimchi. But i don’t currently have Gochugaru and kosher salt at the moment. Can i use an Indian red pepper powder and regular salt instead?

  4. medusagurlyeah Adelaide joined 1/14 & has 32 comments

    Hello Maangchi! We call chayote, chokos in Australia.
    They were on sale, so I bought some to try making them kkakdugi-style. Very crisp!! I actually enjoyed them freshly made, than when they fermented. However, yummy, nonetheless. Very clever. Our chokos have much smaller seeds too. I like this better than traditional radish kkakdugi!

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  5. GeneBlack Alabama joined 5/17 & has 5 comments

    Did you peel the chayote? It appears that the peel is still on it in the pictures. I am going to try this soon. I bought the chayotes yesterday.

  6. laurinda Lisboa- Portugal joined 2/20 & has 1 comment

    I’m addicted to Kimchi! Can I freeze it?
    Tank you for the recipes!

  7. moriisu West LA joined 9/19 & has 5 comments

    Move over, there’s a new guy in town. Joining two old favorites, spicy bellflower root and tofu pickle, is chayote kimchee. Taking your reader’s advice, I fried out the seeds as an additional side dish. Joined with avocado and rice–it is a rainbow of colors and tastes.

    See full size image

  8. EvilGrin joined 6/15 & has 46 comments

    I will have to try that. Our market has them. Ive used turnips and kohlrabi before for kimchi also. They work very well.

    The main thing i do differently when making “radish kimchi” is i use salt and sugar during the weeping. I usually dont save all the brine it makes. The bacteria will eat all of the sugar anyway so its optional. It wont taste sweet.

  9. negautrunks Albuquerque NM joined 1/20 & has 1 comment

    Enjoy your trip to Mexico!
    I’m from El Paso, Texas, which is right on the border with Mexico (you can see Mexico and Juarez from the town), and there are a lot of Korean people there and even a few Korean restaurants there. Something I commonly see served there is a side dish made with jicama. Jicama (pronounced he-ka-ma) occurs really frequently alongside chayote in fruit salads in Mexico.
    I’m not sure the jicama side dish is quite as strong as radish kimchi (I just made some from your older cookbook this weekend!), but it’s spicy and plays off of the jicama’s natural sweetness. Maybe you will have the chance to taste some jicama while you are in Mexico! There is a spicy Mexican fruit salad made with chamoy you should try too, if you get the chance! Stay safe down there!

  10. stonefly Olympia WA joined 11/11 & has 61 comments


    What a great idea! I live in Seattle and we have lots of chayote in the stores, so I will try this. Kkakdugi is my favorite banchan, so I will definitely try this. Thank you for the recipe and have fun in Mexico. You look great in those shorts!!!


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