Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Korean/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Quick Cubed Radish Kimchi – Korean Kkakdugi

04/07/2023

This crunchy, spicy Korean kkakdugi is the perfect side dish or addition to your favourite Korean recipes. Cubed radish kimchi is ready to eat in 15 minutes or savour the rich taste as the flavours develop over time.

A spoon holds cubed radish kimchi, covered in spices and spring onion.

Why We Love This

We love the crispy crunch of kkakdugi! It’s the perfect side dish whenever you want a burst of spicy flavour alongside your favourite homemade recipes.

Usually at home, we’ll throw it in soups and stews like gochujang jjigae or Korean Army Stew. It also tastes great when you add it to other dishes like fried rice, tteokbokki or even bibimbap to give you that crunchy texture added umami goodness.

Related: Korean Kimchi Recipe / Quick Pickled Carrots and Daikon

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Cubed radish kimchi sit in a small jar, ready to eat.

What is Korean Kkakdugi? 

Kkakdugi (written in hangul as 깍두기) is a popular Korean banchan or side dish made from fermented Korean radish known as mu / moo.

It’s a type of kimchi, which is a broad term that covers lots of varieties of fermented vegetables in Korean cuisine, though many people are most familiar with Korea’s napa cabbage based kimchi.

Fun fact: The name kkakdugi actually comes from the sound you make as you cube the radish “kkak-duk! kkak-duk!”.

What You’ll Need

  • Radish – Korean radish specifically, known as mu or moo. Substitute with Japanese daikon. You should find one of these at most supermarkets these days, or head to your local Korean grocery store if you have one nearby!
  • Coarse Sea Salt – Sea salt is great for drawing out the liquid from the radish. If you’re using fine sea salt, start with 1-2 tsp as it will be stronger than using coarse sea salt.
  • Gochugaru – Korean red pepper flakes. These add your spice and rich red colour to the dish. For a slightly more flavourful and a little less spicy, substitute with gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).
  • Fish Sauce – This is great for the umami punch. You can sub with 1-2 tbsp of Korean salted shrimp (saeujeot) or even 1 tsp of Malaysian / Indonesian terasi or belacan. For a vegan alternative, use vegan fish sauce or kombu dashi.
  • Sugar – The sweetness balances out the salt and spice. Brown sugar also works or substitute with Korean plum extract for the most authentic flavour, if you can track it down at your local Asian supermarket.
  • Spring Onion / Green Onion – We love adding spring onion / green onions to our kkakdugi! It adds another layer of flavour, and extra veg.
Ingredients laid out ready to make cubed radish kimchi.

How to Make Cubed Radish Kimchi

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

  1. In a large bowl, add the cubed Korean radish and coarse sea salt. Give it a good mix and optional leave for 10 minutes to bring out a little liquid.
  2. Next, add the gochugarusugar, fish saucegarlic and spring onion. Give everything a good mix and place in an airtight jar. Tip: Spoon into your jar or use kitchen gloves if using your hands to prevent staining your fingers.
  3. You can either eat it straight away as a side dish or snack, while the radish cubes are still quite crunchy, or leave out on the bench at room temperature and pop it in the fridge after a day or two to allow for a funkier, fermented radish kimchi. At this stage, it may become slightly bubbly and take on a stronger, more sour note. Enjoy!

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Fermentation – This recipe does go through a fermentation process (the development of good bacteria). Please make sure you use clean utensils and jars every step of the way for the best success. If at any point you notice mould or a bad smell (not the good umami stench, but the kind that makes you not feel good), ditch the batch and start again.
  • Storage – Sterilised jars are best, or if they’ve been through the dishwasher, that’s fine. Once it’s in the fridge after it’s fermented on the bench for a day or two (and you haven’t eaten the whole batch fresh!), it should keep for at least a month or two. Again, keep an eye on it. Any growth or bad smells and you need to throw it out.
  • Cutting the Radish – Try and keep your cubes as uniform as possible. Having them all a similar size will help them to ferment evenly and give you the best all round flavour and texture throughout. It’ll be totally fine if they’re slightly uneven, so don’t stress toooo much about this. It may just mean a large piece is slightly crunchier / absorbs less seasoning for example, but will still be perfectly edible.

FAQs

My kkakdugi is too salty, what should I do?

As long as it’s not too fermented yet, you can add more diced fresh radish (unsalted) to the mix. This will help reduce the saltiness. 

Otherwise, you can use the salty kkakdugi to flavour soups and stews rather than eating fresh as a banchan (side dish).

Should I eat kkakdugi straight away or wait for the flavours develop?

The short answer is – it depends! It’s all about personal preference. If you like bright flavours and high crunch factor, you’ll like eating it straight away. If you’re a fan of rich umami flavours and sour notes, allowing the radish to really take on the flavours of the seasoning, then be patient and wait those couple of days before you start eating it.

If it’s your first time trying it, eat a piece at every stage of the development to see what you like. You may even find you prefer it in dish amongst other flavours rather than as a side dish. It’s entirely up to you!

My radish has gone soft in the fridge. Can I still use it?

Yes! Fill your sink with cold / room temperature water out the tap and let it soak for 4-8 hours. It will absorb the water and return to it’s nice hard and crisp state. You can even do this at night, so you can make your recipe first thing in the morning without having to wait.

Variations

  • Make it Vegan – Sub out the fish sauce for 1-to-1 vegan fish sauce or kombu dashi (seaweed stock), or use 1 tbsp of red miso paste.
A small jar filled with spicy red kkakdugi.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

A jar filled with spicy kkakdugi.

Quick Cubed Radish Kimchi – Korean Kkakdugi

This crunchy, spicy Korean kkakdugi is the perfect side dish or addition to your favourite Korean recipes. Cubed radish kimchi is ready to eat in 15 minutes or savour the rich taste as the flavours develop over time.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Salting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 1 Jar
Calories: 340kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add the cubed Korean radish and coarse sea salt. Give it a good mix and optional leave for 10 minutes to bring out a little liquid.
    1 Korean radish / mu, ½ tbsp coarse sea salt
  • Next, add the gochugaru, sugar, fish sauce, garlic and spring onion. Give everything a good mix and place in an airtight jar. Tip: Spoon into your jar or use kitchen gloves if using your hands to prevent staining your fingers.
    4 tbsp Korean hot pepper flakes / gochugaru, 3 tbsp sugar, 3 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp garlic, 2 spring onion
  • You can either eat it straight away as a side dish or snack, while the radish is still quite crunchy, or leave out on the bench at room temperature and pop it in the fridge after a day or two to allow for a funkier, fermented radish kimchi. At this stage, it may become slightly bubbly and take on a stronger, more sour note. Enjoy!

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Fermentation – This recipe does go through a fermentation process (the development of good bacteria). Please make sure you use clean utensils and jars every step of the way for the best success. If at any point you notice mould or a bad smell (not the good umami stench, but the kind that makes you not feel good), ditch the batch and start again.
  • Storage – Sterilised jars are best, or if they’ve been through the dishwasher, that’s fine. Once it’s in the fridge after it’s fermented on the bench for a day or two (and you haven’t eaten the whole batch fresh!), it should keep for at least a month or two. Again, keep an eye on it. Any growth or bad smells and you need to throw it out.
  • Cutting the Radish – Try and keep your cubes as uniform as possible. Having them all a similar size will help them to ferment evenly and give you the best all round flavour and texture throughout. It’ll be totally fine if they’re slightly uneven, so don’t stress toooo much about this. It may just mean a large piece is slightly crunchier / absorbs less seasoning for example, but will still be perfectly edible.
  • Make it Vegan – Sub out the fish sauce for 1-to-1 vegan fish sauce or kombu dashi (seaweed stock), or use 1 tbsp of red miso paste.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Quick Cubed Radish Kimchi – Korean Kkakdugi
Amount per Serving
Calories
340
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
8330
mg
362
%
Potassium
 
1679
mg
48
%
Carbohydrates
 
75
g
25
%
Fiber
 
18
g
75
%
Sugar
 
49
g
54
%
Protein
 
11
g
22
%
Vitamin A
 
9735
IU
195
%
Vitamin C
 
84
mg
102
%
Calcium
 
269
mg
27
%
Iron
 
8
mg
44
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Quick Cubed Radish Kimchi - Korean Kkakdugi

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Pat
    10/12/2023 at 4:39 am

    4 stars
    My radish Kim chi is too salty. Can I take it out of the fridge and add more sugar? Thanking you for your response. Otherwise, the recipe is delicious

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      12/12/2023 at 12:05 pm

      Hey Pat, if your salt isn’t coarse, this could be the reason it’s too salty. You could try adding a little more sugar and leaving out to ferment for a further day or two to develop the more sour notes. For the next batch if using regular salt, try 3/4 tsp instead.

  • Reply
    chelo
    06/10/2023 at 2:38 am

    5 stars
    Do you discard the liquid from the daikon and salt mixture?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      06/10/2023 at 1:30 pm

      Keep the liquid, that’ll add to help covering your pieces of daikon. 😀

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