Kkakdugi-Kimchi Daikon

King of kimchis in my opinion. There is nothing like crunchy, garlicky, spicy, fermented daikon. We like having a jar of this in the fridge AND fermenting under the stairs at all times. It usually takes about 5 days to ferment during mild seasons but when it’s hot out, it takes less time and of course possibly more time in the winter, depending on where you live. You can pack your Kkakdugi into jars or ferment them in ceramic lidded pots. We find chinese clay pots or earthenware casserole dishes with lids work a treat. Keep in mind though that pots don’t seal so if you are anxious about making your own ferments, perhaps just use a sealable jar to put your mind at rest. But I encourage you to try not to worry about mold too much. Obviously BLACK MOLD IS BAD, but white surface mold is easily wiped off without any contamination. Think about what cheese actually is and it should put your mind at rest. It’s mold! And furthermore, if you follow the steps, use the right salt and measurements, there won’t be any mold unless you happen to forget about it for ages! It’s the older-the-better when it comes to kimchis. That’s how you get that ‘umami’ from ferments. Taste-as-you-go is key. When the kimchi reaches the flavor that suits you, go for it! And don’t forget, your gut will thank you for all those healthy enzymes you’ll be feeding it!

Note: Many people use plastic gloves when making Kkakdugi and other kimchis bc it makes their hands garlicky and slightly stained with red. If you don’t find the smell of garlic an aphrodisiac, then perhaps wear gloves, otherwise…you’ll be fine. The smell will wash out eventually!

Kkakdugi

2-2.5lb Daikon Radish– Small daikons are fine to use but you’ll need to peel them as the skins tend to be tough. Also be prepared for them to be particularly sharp tasting.

2T Sea Salt– make sure this is non-iodized salt. Iodization inhibits the fermentation process.

3-4T Gochugaru Chili Powder- totally up to your taste. You could also try using cayenne, paprika or Indian chili powder if not available but taste test before you chuck it all in!

1-2T Fish Sauce – Again this should be to taste as it depends on how salty you want your Kkakdugi. Omit this for a vegan version, or replace with soy sauce.

4 cloves Garlic- chopped and crushed into a paste with a pinch or two of salt. The salt, helps break the garlic down as you crush it with a mortar and pestle or the back of your knife.

1 small bunch Green Onions or Garlic Chives, optional- Chopped into 2″ lengths.

Cube your daikon into 2-3 inch thick pieces, put them into a bowl and massage the salt into them. Let them sweat for a few hours-about 2-3.

Crush your garlic into a paste. If you aren’t using a mortar and pestle, transfer the garlic to a bowl. If not, you can use the mortar as the bowl. Add the fish sauce & chili powder and mix. Add enough water to turn it into a thick paste.

Pour out any liquid that pooled under the daikon and add in the chives or green onions.

Next add your chili garlic paste and massage it into the daikon and chives until distributed evenly. Next tightly pack everything into a jar (if you’re squeamish about fermenting) or the ceramic lidded pot we were talking about. Make sure you really pack it in, we want as little oxygen or air bubbles as possible.

If in a jar, seal it shut or if using a ceramic pot, put the lid on it and tie the whole thing with a tea towel or a scarf. Let it sit in a dark place for about 5 days, again depending on the temperature of the season. Do check on it everyday if you feel inclined and feel free to have a taste test occasionally after about day 2. It’s all up to personal preference. 5 days seems to be the magic number but we have even gone for up to 10 days in the winter months.

When it’s reached the level of fermentation that suits you, pack it into a jar (if you used the ceramic pot) and put it in the fridge. It will last you at least a couple of months. If you don’t eat it within days! 🙂

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