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)


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  1. 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 joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

      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.

      • 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?

  2. HanaL joined 5/15 & has 1 comment

    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.

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

  4. 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

  5. Lynnjamin New York joined 11/14 & has 31 comments

    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

  6. HuongD joined 5/15 & has 2 comments

    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?

  7. Glasierz28 Indonesia joined 2/15 & has 2 comments

    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

  8. 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.

  9. 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 :(

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

  11. Oxide California joined 2/15 & has 47 comments

    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

  12. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 50 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

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

    • Lynnjamin New York joined 11/14 & has 31 comments

      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!

  13. Derms Manitoba joined 1/15 & has 1 comment

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

  14. Myotis joined 4/15 & has 1 comment

    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!

  15. Donnarz Iloilo,Philippines joined 12/14 & has 8 comments

    how i wish i can make this maangchi. i haven’t seen yet this fruit here in 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..

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