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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ggakdugi Kimchi (Korean Pickled Daikon Radish)

Recently, I bought two gigantic daikons from the Alhambra Farmers' Market for only 50 cents apiece. It was too good of a deal to pass up so I figured I'd use the opportunity to experiment and make ggakdugi kimchi (Korean pickled daikon radish). I basically used the same method as my Baechu Kimchee (Korean Pickled Napa Cabbage) recipe for the spicy version. And for the non-spicy version, I made a sweet pickle like what I ate at KyoChon Chicken. Although, you'll need to brine all of the daikon, just the same.

Ggakdugi kimchee (Korean Pickled Daikon Radish) 1
Ggakdugi Kimchee (Korean Pickled Radish/Daikon) 

For two 24-oz jars, you'll need:
For brining:
1 large daikon, about 3 cups worth, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tblsp salt

For spicy seasoning:
1 2-inch knob of ginger, grated or minced finely
4 or more cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp Mam Ruoc (Vietnamese Fermented Shrimp Paste) or Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 tblsp or more of gochujang (Korean chili paste)
2 tsp sugar

Optional: Scallions, or chives or whatever alliums you wish

For non-spicy seasoning:
2 tblsp sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

Peel and cut your daikon into 1-inch chunks. Wash thoroughly. In a big bowl, evenly mix 2 tblsp of salt all over the daikon. Then fill up the bowl with water until the daikon is covered. Put a plate over the daikon and something heavy to weigh it down. I use my mortar. Leave overnight at room temperature.

The next day, drain the brined daikon into a colander and rinse. With your hands, squeeze out excess moisture.

Now, it's time to make your seasoning mixture for the spicy version. Take a knob of ginger and a few garlic cloves and mince it in the food processor. Dump it into a big bowl and add a few tsps or so of shrimp paste, a tblsp or more of Korean chili paste (Actually, I use a whole lot more, but my spicy level is pretty high.), and 2 tsp sugar. It must be the bright red Korean chili flakes and/or paste. Other chilies won't taste the same. To me, Korean gochujang has a slight sweetness and isn't as spicy. Mix thoroughly and taste. Make adjustments if necessary.

Add any scallions or greens, then the drained daikon. Use gloves if you don't want your hands to get smelly. Mix thoroughly. Then pack the kimchee into jars about 75% full. You don't want to fill it to the brim as the kimchee will actually bubble as it ferments and may pop the top if it's too full. But do pack the kimchee into the jar tightly so that it can ferment better.

For the non-spicy version, add the brined and drained daikon into a jar. In a small pan, boil about 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 1 or 2 tblsp of sugar, depending on how sweet you want the pickles to be. When the mixture boils, pour into the jar and screw the lid on tightly and in about a week, it'll turn to pickles.

Ggakdugi kimchee (Korean Pickled Daikon Radish) 2

Try eating some fresh if you like, or set the jars at room temperature for a few days to ferment, then refrigerate.


Other pickle recipes you might like:  
Baechu Kimchee (Korean Pickled Napa Cabbage)  
Bok Choy Kimchee (Korean Pickled Bok Choy)  
Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Stuff ie. Carrots and Daikon)
Gaennip/Kaennip Kimchee (Korean Pickled Sesame/Shiso/Perilla Leaves)
Pickled Grapes  
Rau Muong Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Water Spinach)

1 year ago today, a virtual tour of the floating market, stilt houses, and fruit trees in the Mekong Delta - Vietnam.


  1. I just made kimchi today and didn't realize how easy it was! Now I wanna do daikon and cucumber next. :)

  2. Jeannie,
    I know! I used to think it was hard too but not anymore.

  3. The detailed recipes are fantastic, especially the sweet version which I had not come across before. The spicy recipe I just used (before finding yours) had me salt the daikon (without water) for an hour and drain when softened. Do you know of any difference in the results from the two salting techniques? Just wondering...

  4. Hi Chena,
    If you're only salting for an hour and then draining, there shouldn't be much of a difference. Some people leave the salt in much longer and I think that saturates the vegetables too much. I just prefer the brining method because it redistributes the salt more evenly so the overall taste isn't as salty. Either method works, it's just a case of personal preference.

  5. Hi, I just used your recipe and am stumped about the liquid. If the daikon/mu is drained, where do you get all that liquid in the photo? should I add water to the top??? please help!

  6. Hi Jeanhee,
    I'm assuming you mean for the non-spicy version? Here are the directions from the last paragraph again:

    "For the non-spicy version, add about 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 or 2 tblsp of sugar, depending on how sweet you want the pickles to be. Mix with the daikon thoroughly and pack into the jar. Then fill the jar with water. Screw the lid on tightly and in about a week, it'll turn to pickles."

  7. Thanks for the recipe! All I could find online are Baechu Kimchi (cabbage kimchi) recipes.

  8. thanks for the recipe! i was wondering, how long does the spicy version keep a) in the fridge and b) at room temp?

  9. JeeSung,
    I made it up so I'm not sure if it's what other people do, but it worked for me.

    I stick mine in the fridge right away so I don't know how long it lasts at room temperature. In the fridge, it's good for months.

  10. I'm with Jeanhee: I'm confused about the liquid. When I made this (the spicy version), it was very dry. But in your image the jar clearly has some liquid in it.

    It was very tasty, but I can't escape the feeling I'm missing part of the recipe.

  11. Carla,
    Are you using Korean chili paste or flakes? The paste is quite liquidy once mixed. I didn't add any water to the spicy version. It'll release more water once the radish start fermenting also.

  12. Hi there! I just wanted to say thank you for such an insightful blog. I have been researching recipes for kimchi since my mom couldn't remember her recipe from many years ago when she used to make it all the time in Hawaii. I made some baechu kimchi and after stumbling upon your blog, I am excited to make this daikon version. I believe I am quickly becoming a fan of yours and can't wait to share this and the delicious food I make from your recipes. Cheers to you!

  13. Beth,
    Thanks for such nice words. I hope you try some more recipes. Do let me know how they work for you.

  14. Koreans prefer there one radish variety. They are much sweeter and delicate. My Korean wife would NEVER use the daikon. These radishes are much shorter and more broad. Ours from the garden usually measure about8-10" long and 4-6" wide.

  15. Chris,
    Your criticism loses a lot of oomph when you have a major grammatical error. Anyway, short, broad radishes are also daikon. Just because your wife prefers another kind, doesn't mean she speaks for all Koreans. And umm, the daikon I used was also roughly the same size as yours so I'm pretty sure what your wife uses is probably the same one. Ha!

    1. I beg to differ with you ! Although Daikon and Korean Radish (Mu or Moo) NAMES are interchanged they are totally different. Same family but different tastes. The Daikon has a very spicy taste, more like a red radish, sometimes even spicier. The Mu is mild and sweet. According to my research : The English name "daikon" derives from the Japanese daikon (大根), literally "large root" (usually rendered in Katakana as ダイコン) and is the most common name for the vegetable in North America. However, the greener, rounder Korean varieties are rarely called daikon and are instead usually referred to as "Korean radish". Likewise, Chinese varieties are sometimes called "lo-bok" or "lo-bak" derived from the Cantonese lòhbaahk (蘿蔔). BTW grammar has nothing to do with what the gentleman was trying to say. Your snobbery is showing.

  16. My boyfriend is Korean and I bought the Japanese daikon for the non spicy recipe and a Korean daikon for the spicy recipe. I just got done making them so we are waiting for them to ferment before we can dig in...my boyfriend is so happy! I couldn't find the Korean chili paste so I substituted sirachi hot sauce, and lots of it, and had my boyfriend try it...he said it was really good and I saw his eyes light up! (i also used lots of chili flakes). He has been missing Korean food, but now thanks to you and your recipes....I can make him happy and bring familiar tastes to the dinner table for him! THANK YOU SO MUCH! YOU'RE AWESOME!! :-)

  17. Manna,
    Aww, I smiled when I got to the part where you said his eyes lit up. It's too bad you can't find the Korean chili paste. I like sriracha and all, but it's not the same flavor profile at all. Still, substitution is better than nothing! I hope you and he like the other recipes too!


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