Ponytail kimchi

Chonggak-kimchi 총각김치

Hi everybody!
I’m very excited to introduce chonggak-kimchi to you today, a special kind of kimchi made with radishes called chonggakmu. Chonggak-kimchi is often translated as “ponytail kimchi.” I think it’s an awesome translation because the name not only sounds cute but the greens on the radish look like real ponytail. You’ll never forget the name once you hear it.

The radish is firm and crispy and the greens are soft, so you can imagine the texture and taste of this kimchi: both crunchy and smooth. This kind of radish is not found in many countries outside for Korea, but I found a few companies that sell the seeds online, so you can grow your own.

But you can easily get this radish at a Korean grocery store. Ask them, “I’m looking for chonggakmu!” “I want to make chonggak-kimchi!” Good quality chonggakmu have a radish that looks like a cute curvy bulb, and are not more than 4 inches long, with soft greens.

My late father used to love this kimchi. I still remember the crunchy sound that came from his mouth when he ate it. The sound that I remember still stimulates my appetite for this kimchi. Whenever I eat this kimchi, I want to make the sound just as my father did. “sheeguruk sheeguruk” : )

When I lived in Canada, one day I went to a Korean vegetable farm with my friends, 1 hour by car from Toronto. The farm was several acres and run by a Korean man growing a variety of Korean vegetables. Once we found him in the field, he gave each of us a huge plastic garbage bag. “Fill this with cabbage from my field, and pay me $10 per bag.”

All we could think about was how to fill the bags the most efficiently. My friends and I were almost going crazy to stuff as much as we could into our bags. I filled 2 huge bags and my friends also made a few bags each. Our hands, clothes, under fingernails, the farm soil and dust was everywhere. We laughed at each other. “Haha, check out your face!”

After he got paid, he led us to his home on the farm, and made warm rice with a rice cooker. “I’m making rice for you now. When the rice is done, eat it with kimchi. That’s all I have for you.” He opened his refrigerator and took out a huge glass jar filled with ponytail kimchi! Rice and ponytail kimchi, that was our lunch! It was amazingly tasty and everybody made loud crunching sounds. “Ahh, delicious delicious!” I kept saying until I emptied 2 bowls of rice!

Ingredients

Chonggakmu (2 kilograms, or 4½ pounds), kosher salt, onion, garlic, flour, sugar, fish sauce, Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru), green onions

Directions

Total preparation time: 1½ hours

Prepare the radishes:

  1. Peel the radishes but keep the green stems attached. Cut off the tails and remove the dead leaves.
  2. Cut the radishes in half lengthwise. Grab the 2 halves with both hands, split the greens, and put them into a large basin or bowl. Repeat this until you’ve cleaned all the radishes.
    *tip: If the radishes are small bite sizes (about 2 inches long), skip this step

Salt the radishes:

  1. Add some cold water to the radishes in the basin, and then drain.
  2. Sprinkle the radishes with ½ cup of kosher salt and mix with your hands. Let it sit in the salt for 30 minutes.
  3. 30 minutes later, turn over the radishes so they salt evenly and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Total salting takes 1 hour.
  4. Wash the radishes thoroughly about 4-5 times to remove any dirt and excess salt, and drain in a colander.

Make porridge for the kimchi paste:

  1. Mix ¼ cup flour and 2 cups of water in a pot and heat over medium heat.
  2. Keep stirring until it thickens. When you see some bubbles, add 2 tbs sugar and stir for 1 more minute before removing from the heat.
  3. Cool it down.

Make kimchi!

  1. Mince 12 cloves of garlic and half a medium sized onion (about ½ cup worth of onion). Chop 5 stalks of green onion. Set aside.
  2. Transfer the porridge to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the minced garlic and onion, 1 cup hot pepper flakes, ¼ cup fish sauce, and the chopped green onions. Mix well.
  4. Add the ponytail radishes and mix well with your hands.
    *tip: Wear rubber gloves so that your hands won’t be sore later

You can eat it right after making it, but this kimchi is more tasty when it ferments.

To ferment:

  1. Transfer the kimchi to a glass jar or a plastic container and keep it at room temperature for a couple of days.
    *tip: When it ferments, it will smell and taste sour, and the color of the greens will change to olive green.
  2. When the kimchi ferments, scoop some kimchi juice from the bottom of the container to the top so that the top layer of the kimchi won’t dry out and your kimchi will be juicy.

Keep it in the refrigerator and enjoy!

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62 Comments:

  1. kimchiji-gay California, USA joined 11/11 & has 2 comments

    Dear Maangchi,
    Thank you for the delicious recipe. I am hoping you can give me some advice. When I make yeolmu kimchi and chonggak kimchi, so much of the radish leaf stem is too tough to chew! I have tried removing many of the outer leaves when I clean and trim the radishes and using very fresh and young radishes only, some of them came out of my garden on the same day! Boiled radish tops is one of my favorite greens, what can I try to do differently to enjoy these greens as tender kimchi? I will be grateful for any suggestions you may have.
    Sincerely,
    Kimchiji-gay

  2. kjunsu iowa joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    thank you for this i can wait to make it i just need to go and buy the stuff(:
    but is it ok with you if you make onion kimchi please… :D it would be great i saw it and i was at my firends house and her mom had some and it was sooooooo good! and i want to make it but i trust your recipes only! (: thankyou so Much for your hard work i dont know what i would do with out you :P even though in a 15 year old i still want to know more and more about korea and korean foods ill be going there for half of my high school year thankyou~!!!

  3. oliviajasonkim Madison, Wisconsin joined 2/12 & has 2 comments

    i love your blog and recipes. thanks so much!

    olivia k

  4. Neny Lily Lao Philippines joined 5/11 & has 12 comments

    Hi Maangchi:
    I really did missed your recipes. I was hoping you can send me your latest through my e-mail. II was watching one of my on line Korean drama when I saw this Persimon Kimchi.. There plenty of persimon right now, and I would like try it. The napa kimchi I learned from you is just always present in our every day meal. Can you please provide us with the Persimon recipes?
    More power to your exciting recipes.

  5. chef Benedict Manila, Philippines joined 11/11 & has 45 comments

    what kind of radish is that? and it is very rare to me… even in korea i havent find it also… but i hope i should try this dish one day.

  6. ck1 New York joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    Wow! I’m so excited!! I grew these radish in my garden this summer (matter of fact some still in the ground waiting for me to pull – hopefully they are still ok). I had no idea what to use them for except in salads & eating raw, but now I do! I purchased a packet of seeds from H & Y Market (Plainview NY) and figured I’d give it a whirl! They grow so fast (the greens, the white bottom takes a little longer). Ponytail kimichi it is! TY :)

  7. Yan joined 4/11 & has 3 comments

    I love these! We buy the packet Kimchi from the supermarket, but I want to make my own. Now I can! Thank you! Though I don’t know whether I can find the ponytail radish here. Ponytail radish hunting for me this weekend! :D

  8. bo Hawaii joined 7/10 & has 49 comments

    Now I have to go to the Korean store and hopefully there will be some ponytail radish. Emily I’m wondering… I grow salad radish (those little red and white radish you put in your salad) I used the tops when I made my white kimchi. Could I also add these radish tops to the kimchi?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Yes, the radish tops are also edible. You can make kimchi with them but sometimes they have a slight bitter taste. Taste a sample first before making kimchi. That’s what I’m doing. Good luck with your cooking!

  9. Quick question: is it ok to put oysters or squid in chonggak kimchi like people do with regular baechu kimchi?

  10. thank you, maangchi!!! this is AWESOME. my favorite kimchi.

  11. soko2usa Minnesota joined 4/09 & has 55 comments

    Ah, I was wondering the same thing, if they were just yeolmu radishes all grown up!

    I have been waiting for this recipe! I’m so excited to see it! But now I’m a little sad, since finding chonggak is difficult. Kaktugi is my favorite kind of kimchi and yeolmu is my second favorite kind… chonggak would be a combo of the two! Maybe I can find it in a jar somewhere.

    Yay for recipes, I miss you Maangchi! I’ve been meaning to email you, but things keep coming up. I will soon though. Thank you for your recipes and videos!

    <3, Kerri

  12. Woo Dogg Chicago/Schaumburg joined 5/10 & has 1 comment

    Great recipe. 총각 김치!! Thank you. I started buying and using Korean cookbooks in 1970, and I collected 15-20 Korean Cookbooks. I threw all those books in the garbage–I now use your video recipes exclusively. One question: Why is the video clip for chonggak kimchee (총각 김치) so shaky? All of your previous clips run smoothly and are easy to follow. This one is herky, jerky and, frankly, not very smooth. It is less informative–due to the skips, and it is a bit hard to understand. Is something wrong with my browser? (I tried several browser settings, and settings were not smooth). OR..did you film it this way?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Thank you so much for your interest in my recipes!
      Sorry you thought this video was shaky. I didn’t think it was very shaky at all. Maybe your browser has a problem? Anyway, I’m always trying to make my videos better, so thanks for the advice. I’ll try to make the next video as smooth and clear as I can.

  13. Abby Brunei joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! You are so inspiring! I was wondering, when you used flour for making the porridge, was it just plain flour or sweet rice flour? Are there any other alternatives if I have to use sweet rice flour because I don’t think there is such flour in my country. Sorry for the silly question but I’m attempting to make my own kimchi with my mom soon, so I’m pretty excited! (: neomu neomu kamsahamnida.

  14. jennykoh Singapore joined 1/10 & has 27 comments

    The sound when u ate it “sheeguruk sheeguruk” makes me drooling in front of my laptop…

  15. DominiqueEchard North Carolina joined 5/09 & has 36 comments

    So cute! I love this recipe and video. The ponytails look like young summer radish all grown up. I’m eating Greek food right now but I would rather have your rice and kimchi to go with my beer! I’m almost out of baechu kimchi, so soon it it will be time for another batch – I’ll look for these radish at H&Y :D Thanks, Maangchi.

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