Kkagdugi, Cubed Radish Kimchi
The name kkagdugi comes from the sound of radishes to the Korean ears, being cut into cubes, “kkagdug, kkagdug. This kimchi is Korean’s favorite companion dish with Beef Short Rib Soup and Ginseng Chicken Soup. The recipe is very easy to prepare. Sweet and juicy Korean variety, mu is the key ingredients.
Makes 5 quart
About 1 hour to prepare, and 2 days to mature
1 pound napa cabbage hearts, cut into 1½ domino shape
4 pounds mu (Korean radishes), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons goch’u garu (fine red pepper powder)
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped saeu joet (salted shrimp)
5 green onions, white and pale green part only, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 walnut halves, coarsely chopped
2 ounces fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 ounces mustard greens, cut into 1-inch pieces
Reserve a few whole cabbage leaves. In a large bowl, place the cabbage pieces and radishes and sprinkle the salt and toss. Let is set for about 15 minutes. Add 2-tablespoons goch’u garu and toss well. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, dissolve the sweet rice flour into 2-cups water. Bring to a boil and decrease the heat to medium-low. Gently cook for 2 minutes, until it becomes a thin paste, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let cool. Add the remaining 2-tablespoons goch’u garu and saeu jeot and mix well. Add to the cabbage and radish mixture and toss well. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Transfer into a 6-quart wide mouthed jar with a screw-top lid. Use the reserved cabbage leaves to wipe up the remaining spices in the bowl; spread these leaves to cover the kimchi. Add a little water to the bowl to mix with the leftover bits and pieces of spices. Pour over the kimchi and press down firmly to pack well. Make sure that all the kimchi is immersed in its juice. Be sure to have at least 2-inch headspace.
Close the lid tight and double wrap in plastic bags. Let mature at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Transfer to the refrigerator to stop fermentation. The kimchi will stay fresh for 2 months or more.
Variations: There are several kkakgugi variations. To make dangnun kkakdugi (carrot cubed kimchi), follow the exact directions above, but replace the radishes cubes with the same amount of carrots. To make oi kkakgugi (cucumber and cubed radishes kimchi), follow the directions above but use 1 pound cucumber cubes in place of cabbage. To make baek kkakgugi (white cubed radishes), follow the exact directions, but omit all except the radish cubes, sugar, salt, ginger and garlic juice. It is great for children, a refreshing snack and makes a great appetizer tray. For a fancy variation, add 1-cup fresh shucked oysters and is called gul kkakdugi (oyster radishes cubes kimchi).
Vegetarian recipe: To make this vegetarian, please replace salted shrimps with 1 tablespoon fine sea salt.