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.

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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 (2½ 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

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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 1½ 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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82 Comments:

  1. Kim Tan Norway joined 10/16
    Posted June 13th, 2017 at 5:18 am | # |

    Hi, Can I make this with dikon?

    • Chefnim808 Hawaii joined 8/17
      Posted August 1st, 2017 at 4:32 pm | # |

      Yes you can. Daikon is also used to make takuan (japanese pickled daikon) using the same salting process. The only difference is “True Daikon” / Japanese daikon is much sweeter than Mu (korean radish).

  2. seungaseunga Connecticut joined 2/17
    Posted February 18th, 2017 at 9:23 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I forgot to put the radishes in the fridge after salting them and now old is growing on them. Do I have to toss them now? Thanks.

    SL

  3. Hangooksaram Fort Lee, NJ joined 1/17
    Posted January 6th, 2017 at 8:45 am | # |

    안녕하세요 망치님, all your delicious and easy kimchi videos finally made me want to make one so I settled on the dong kimchi. My Hmart sold the dong kimchi radish with the tops on and after cleaning it, I’m left with tons of radish tops! I know my mom would never throw this away! Lol. But in your video, you only used the small radish tops in the dong kimchi recipe and I heard most people omit these and opt for smaller radish tops or 갓…?? Any suggestions as to what I should do with my radish tops? Thank you!


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  4. ahw Los Angeles joined 10/16
    Posted October 26th, 2016 at 2:18 pm | # |

    I’m making dongchimi for the second time now. I can’t wait for it to be ready!


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 27th, 2016 at 10:34 am | # |

      wow, the radish looks so tasty! When it’s fermented, it will be really tasty!

  5. xwerox kalbar,indonesia joined 9/16
    Posted September 14th, 2016 at 11:34 am | # |

    can i use ponytail radish instead of korean radish?im sure there is no korean radish and daikon in small city.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 20th, 2016 at 12:50 pm | # |

      Yes, ponytail radish will turn out delicious, too.

  6. lhelinski Washington, DC joined 8/16
    Posted August 9th, 2016 at 3:09 pm | # |

    I love this recipe! I’ve made it at least 4 times now, whenever I find good sized radishes at the Korean market or at the farmer’s market. The first few times, I did not have cheese cloth, so I used the fine mesh netting bag that lemons come in. I just knotted it at both ends! The other times, I used a cloth drawstring bags made for aromatics. I think that netting or cheesecloth are better, because they let the water move through better. After lots of searching for a big jar, I settled on a large glass Fido jar. Although the mouth is a little small, it works just fine! When I keep kimchi in plastic, I find that the smell does not come out if you want to use it for other things later (I don’t have a dishwasher!).


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  7. Masschan London, UK joined 7/16
    Posted July 23rd, 2016 at 8:58 am | # |

    Thank you for this Maangchi! I have just tried some of the dongchimi I made using your recipe and it tastes so good! I can’t wait to make dongchimi guksu as it’s been so hot recently.
    My friend is always joking to me that my stomach was born in the wrong country as I have really old fashioned Korean tastes ^.^


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 25th, 2016 at 12:50 pm | # |

      “…my stomach was born in the wrong country as I have really old fashioned Korean tastes” It’s so funny! You are going to make dongchimi noodle soup with your homemade dongchimi! Yes, you definitely know Korean food and make an effort to get the real Korean taste.

  8. Jenjenwong joined 12/15
    Posted December 23rd, 2015 at 9:10 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I recently visited Korea and learnt about this dish Dongchimi. I love it so much and wanted to make myself. Try your recipe but I might have put in too much sea salt. What can I do then? Thanks for sharing your comment.
    Jen

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14
      Posted December 24th, 2015 at 7:05 am | # |

      Hi Jenjenwong,

      don’t worry, this saltiness may slow the fermentation down a bit, but won’t affect the radishes themselves. To serve, you have to dilute the broth down with water anyways.

      Merry Christmas!

      Bye, Sanne.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 24th, 2015 at 10:04 am | # |

      I would fix it this way:
      Boil some water and let cool thoroughly, add crushed pear (any kinds of pears), then strain and squeeze out the pulp from the pears. Add it to the salty dongchimi and mix it well. it will taste good.

  9. kimchiaddict joined 4/15
    Posted May 18th, 2015 at 7:31 pm | # |

    hi maanchi, just a pix of the dongchimi i just set out to ferment. l already dried my daykons to make danmuji tomorrow, on top of jar, and will make it with chija and rice bran. i do not like takuan made the japanese way, and nobody makes danmuji to sell around here, sooo here we go… c u in a month of maassaages…


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 19th, 2015 at 10:34 am | # |

      “c u in a month of maassaages” haha, you are so funny! Good luck!

  10. kimchiaddict joined 4/15
    Posted May 3rd, 2015 at 5:53 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    great recipe as always! but this time I wanted to make some dongchimi quickly, so I cut up the radishes in chunks of 5×1 cm, let them ferment for 24 hs, added some rice syrup, (half my asian pear was already fermenting inside), water and adjusted the salt with a saturated salt solution. In addition the radish leaves were not very fresh, so I did put in some sprigs of flat parsley. I just made 4 liters, and I would like to know if it’s ok, or if I should take it out by tomorrow? in another recipe, you used it to replace mugwort…
    so, now to make my Kkatdugi, and tomorrow a large pot of Baechu Mak Kimchi! and BTW another question: can I add sauejeot AND some of my fermented squid in my Baechu K.C.? If I watch out for the salt content?
    and thanks again for all the fish!

  11. Matilda.Kramer Sweden joined 1/13
    Posted November 29th, 2014 at 5:29 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    Unfortunately, it’s hard to get my hands on good Korean ingredients where I live. So I improvised with turnip. Everything is in the can and now I’m waiting for the result!

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