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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90 Comments:

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

    This recipe got really great reviews from my guests who grew up in Korea. The husband could not believe that it was possible to learn how to make this purely from Youtube and not from one’s own mother or grandmother. Well, Maangchi is standing in for a Korean mother for many of us, I think!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      I’m happy to hear that everyone liked your dongchimi! Yes, it’s possible to make delicious Korean food from my recipes, because I’ve been working on these recipes for decades!

  2. KoreanKraut PA joined 11/12 & has 2 comments

    Maangchi,

    I followed your recipe, and was rewarded with the sweet sweet taste I remember from my youth. It is amazing how a smell or taste can take you back so many years, for me about 45 years, since I was able to enjoy that sweet briny taste. I have posted before, and once again Thank You for what you do. My mother passed away when I was young and I lost those wonderful smells, and tastes when she went. Today and through your recipes I can re-live those lost memories and enjoy such a re-birth of my heritage thru the delicious Korean cuisine.

    Thank you once again.

    Korean Kraut

    P.S. Some day I’ll have to come to NYC to meet you, it would be a pleasure.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      Thank you for sharing your touching story about your mom! Even though your mom passed away when you were very young, you still remember the taste and the smell of her food!

  3. mikalwilliams joined 5/11 & has 4 comments

    Manngchi, after the 2 days at room temp I tested it. The brine is delicious but the radish were not fermeted, it has been about 70 degrees in the house. The radish was about the same size as in the video. Anyways, so I cut the radish in half length wise and out it back so it can ferment a little more. What do you think? Thank you.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      yes, it’s normal. The brine will taste a little sour but the radish won’t. “I cut the radish in half length wise and out it back so it can ferment a little more.” smart! : )

  4. Polarean New Jersey joined 5/13 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    This may seem like a simple question, but I don’t have cheese cloth! anything I can use instead? I have a metal strainer ball I use for soup, is that ok?

  5. Dan Seattle, Washington, US joined 2/11 & has 10 comments

    Hey Maangchi! A friend of mine wants to make these and he wonders if it’s OK to use a plastic container instead of a glass one. Basically we buy dong chi mi at the local Korean store and it comes in a plastic jar, so he was thinking of just using that. Does this sound OK or is glass preferable? Thanks!

  6. Nicole4ever Las Vegas, Nevada joined 2/11 & has 11 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I’ve been watching a lot of Korean cooking shows lately. This looks like the White Kimichi they make. Is it the same? I’ve been really wanting to try it. Sorry don’t have much experience with Korean cooking. Just what you’ve taught me. Thank you for your responses on my other posts.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      yes, they look similar but different. White kimchi called baekkimchi is made with napa cabbage and dongchimi is usually made with radishes. And also the recipes are different. Baekkimchi is one of my upcoming recipes. Good luck with your Korean cooking! : )

  7. Polarean New Jersey joined 5/13 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi! My question is, after its finished, about how long is good for? My question goes for most kimchi as well. I know some kimchi tastes better after its fermented a lil longer, but is there ever a point where its actually “gone bad”?

  8. dragonlee London, England joined 12/12 & has 3 comments

    Hello! I was just wondering if I could change the pear to an apple?

  9. ang gelo Philippines joined 2/13 & has 6 comments

    Hi maangchi! Im about to try to make dongchimi and im real excited about it. However when i went to the grocery store, daikon radish is not available- only the long radishes are available. Can i use them for your recipe? If yes, do they taste the same? Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      yes, any type of firm radishes will work well with this recipe. Good luck!

      • ang gelo Philippines joined 2/13 & has 6 comments

        Maangchi, i couldnt get rid of those brownish spots on the skin of my radishes so i peeled them. How would it affect my dongchimi??? Also i couldnt find radishes with green parts still on it but i continued salting my radishes without green leaves. Is it just okay? :-)

  10. Moonrose Austin, TX joined 1/12 & has 1 comment

    The mu in my local korean mart were HUGE! I had to double-check they weren’t daikon, but they were the korean radishes, just the size of my arm up to the elbow!! Would it still be the same process if I just cut them down to pieces about the size of my fist? (small hands!) I bought some dongchimi already made so I can make guksu for my boyfriend and I, but I am looking forward to fermenting my first delicious thing =) I haven’t tried kimchi yet, I’m afraid our roommate might get cranky -.- He will have to just deal with it soon though, because I want to make my own for jjigae!

    gamsahapnida! ^_^

  11. muskratbyte Fort Worth joined 1/11 & has 3 comments

    As I use the broth to make cold water kimchi soup, the radishes are no longer covered and I’m worried they may spoil. Once I’ve used some of the broth, can I add more water to the water kimchi?

  12. glacierkn WI, US joined 9/10 & has 6 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I tried this twice but the brine became thick and slimy after 2 days. I’m scared to eat it. Is it correct? (I used boiled and chilled water) Also, just out of curiosity, do you know why the brine turns milky colored? I really want this recipe to work because when I ate some after just one day of fermenting, it tasted so good!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      ” the brine became thick and slimy after 2 days…” It’s very natural. Delicious taste from all the ingredients will be drawn out as time passes, so the broth will turn a little milky but it shouldn’t be slimy. Add more water and salt to dilute the broth then. Enjoy your delicious dongchimi! : )

  13. Helen Upland ca joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi,
    So i made my very first dong chi mi. Kim chi goong mool tastes great. The problem is the radish. Radish itself is not fermented at all. What should i do? What should i do?

  14. Jasper Philippines joined 5/11 & has 26 comments

    hi maangchi. when dongchimi is done, is it okay to store it outside the ref.? room temperature is about 20 degree celcius.. or should i keep in in the fridge?

  15. Jasper Philippines joined 5/11 & has 26 comments

    Wow Maangchi, I’m curious to know what dongchimi tastes like. It looks so strange to me, but in a nice way. There aren’t any Korean radishes near my place. The closest place where there are korean radishes is Baguio, which is a 3 hour drive away. Luckily, I’m heading off to Baguio tomorrow to enroll at university, so I might get some of these :)

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