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! : )


  • 7-8 small palm-sized Korean radishes, about 5 pounds’ worth (2½ kg)
  • ⅓ cup kosher 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



  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.


  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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  1. jj canada joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    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?

  2. gmp73 joined 1/10 & has 6 comments

    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?

  3. garpu Seattle joined 4/09 & has 5 comments

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

  4. healthysaver USA joined 2/10 & has 3 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      “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!

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

    How did it turn out.

  6. junghwa Mongolia joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

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

  7. susannevh rotterdam, the netherland joined 3/09 & has 22 comments

    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

  8. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 101 comments

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

  9. janicedale Australia joined 2/12 & has 16 comments

    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.

  10. 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?

  11. Soju123 New York, NY joined 3/11 & has 21 comments

    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!

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

    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.

  13. powerplantop Louisiana joined 6/09 & has 70 comments

    That looks really good!

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

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


  15. sl100048 Singapore joined 6/11 & has 15 comments

    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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