It’s about time. It’s Kimchi time! Kimchi is a staple dish in Korean people’s everyday lives. I should say every meal, actually. Not only do Korean people eat this spicy, fermented vegetable side dish with every single meal, but they also cook other dishes with it and it’s a whole new level. The most common kimchi is made with napa cabbage. However, when we went to Hollins Farm in Delaplace, VA this weekend to look at their pumpkin patch, we ended up getting more things than we needed (of course), among which were radishes!
To be honest, I’d never made kimchi myself before. Looking at the fresh radishes, however, I just couldn’t let them go. I had to make kimchi with them! Plus, radish kimchi is one of the easiest to make. 🙂 With a little help of the Internet and from my mom, I managed to do it and it’s gonna taste YUMMY!! You can eat kimchi as soon as you make it but it’s supposed to be “fermented”, meaning you gotta wait!
So here’s what I did!
※ What you need: 1 big daikon radish (or the same amount of a bunch of smaller ones), 3 Tbsp of red pepper flakes, 4 Tbsp of fish sauce (Korean anchovy sauce), 1 Tbsp of minced garlic, 1/2 Tbsp of minced ginger, rice flour paste, 1 tbsp of sugar, scallions, onions, and 4-5 Tbsp of sea salt
1. Cut the stems off the roots. Clean the roots thoroughly and peel the skin if necessary.
2. Dice the radishes. Sprinkle sea salt over the diced radishes and let them sit for 3 hours. Give them a little toss here and there in the meantime. The point of salting the radish is to get the moisture out of the radish so the taste doesn’t get affected by the moisture. You will be AMAZED to see how much “water” the radishes let out for three hours. Even after this step, you will see a lot of “liquid” you didn’t expect later on when your kimchi is sitting in the refrigerator. In 3 hours, rinse them and put them in a colander.
3. Rice flour paste! Sweet rice, aka chapssal, is usually used when making rice cakes. This flour is easily found in any Asian grocery stores. However, according to my mom, just regular flour should work as well. Mix 3 Tbsp of rice flour with the same amount of water. Turn the stove on. Mild heat. You have to keep stirring. Otherwise, it’s going to burn really fast. When the paste get to the consistency in the picture. Turn it off. Let it cool.
4. Don’t forget about the stems! Some people don’t even bother to use them. Others cook them and dry them to make another dish. But I just put them in my kimchi. Wash them thoroughly and cut them so they are about 2-3 inches.
5. Let’s mix them! As you can see, the radishes, stems, thin strips of onions, minced garlic, minced ginger, red pepper flakes, a little bit of sugar, and the rice flour paste are all getting mixed in a bowl. Of course, this is when the fish sauce goes in! I wouldn’t really try to smell the fish sauce itself. It’s pretty strong! 😉 And use your hand to mix them! Kimchi tastes so much better that way. As you can imagine, it’s got a strong flavor so I always use the plastic gloves.
6. Kimchi is almost ready! Get a glass jar or any glass container and put your kimchi in it. I say a glass jar because (I’m gonna be honest) once plastic containers have kimchi in them, they are done. lol Korean people have a Gimjang day and that’s when they make all their kimchi for the year. And they use cool looking jars and bury them under ground so the kimchi get properly fermented. We don’t need to get all that fancy though. 😉 All we need is a couple of days. Afterwards, keep it refrigerated and you should be able to enjoy it within a week! Kimchi is one of those things that taste different every time. Enjoy!