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Korean Radish – 3 Ways & Recipes

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There’s nothing quite like the magical Korean radish in my book.  It truly possesses transformative powers with its capacity to be bright and fruity at one moment then chewy and crisp the next.  There are actually several dozen ways to prepare Korean radish.  My father even enjoys them straight and raw.  It’s a testament to how crunchy and refreshing they are.  Though they appear to be daikon, Korean radish {or mu} is much more juicy with a denser flesh, mild spice and a subtle sweet flavor.  The Autumn and Winter harvests are the most prized and thought to be the most delicious.  Needless to say, I felt blessed to be the lucky recipient of more than 50 pounds over the weekend from my wonderful Gomo/Auntie.

Today, we’re going to be focusing on 3 different Korean radish recipes with radish kimchi, danmuji-pickles and muchim/side dish.  Each has its own purpose, touting unique flavors and textures.  Though it’s hard to choose, I’d say the dried radish muchim or side dish/banchan is my favorite.  Known as “mumallengi muchim,” it’s delightfully chewy with a nice crunch.  Despite its fiery ruby color, it’s not that spicy and the drying process actually intensifies its natural sweetness.  When it’s later paired with honey, it’s mild in the heat department with an exciting textural element.  The radish kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine just like napa cabbage kimchi, accompanying many {or all} traditional soups and stews.  As cooler air yields to a bounty of Korean radish, it’s only fitting for it to pair perfectly with bubbling broths of all sorts, particularly the ox-bone soup/seolleongtang.  You could even feature it as the star in beef and radish soup.  Finally, the danmuji/pickles are crunchy and sweet, having its place in Korean sushi-type rolls called kim-bap or as a side to jajangmyeon.  It’s also great as a pickled condiment to heavier items like fried chicken.  I have fond memories of enjoying sweet and spicy fried chicken in Korea alongside tiny tubs of danmuji/pickles.  It’s a classic!

Whichever recipe you decide to try first, you really can’t go wrong.  They’re all so different and delicious.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Korean Radish - 3 Ways & Recipes
 
Author:
Ingredients
Dried Radish Side Dish
  • 2 c dehydrated/dried radish
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tb fish sauce
  • 1 tb sesame oil
  • 2 tb Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 tb raw honey
  • 1 ts toasted sesame seeds
Radish Kimchi
  • 5 tb kosher salt
  • 5 pounds cubed radish
  • ⅔ c water + 2 tb sweet rice flour {glutinous rice flour}
  • ¼ c fish sauce
  • ⅔ c Korean red pepper flakes {not regular red pepper flakes}
  • ½ c garlic
  • 1 tb fresh ginger
  • ½ c onion
  • ½ c fuji apple
Danmuji Pickles
  • 2 tb kosher salt
  • 2 pounds radish {cut into desired shapes}
  • 1 c water
  • 6 tb vinegar
  • 6 tb sugar
  • 1 tb kosher salt
Instructions
  1. For the dried radish, obtain 2 cups of dried/dehydrated radish {homemade or store bought}. To make your own, cut radish into shoe-string french fry shapes and place on a single layer in the dehydrator {you can also air dry, it just takes longer}. Mine took about 4 hours but this varies depending on how large your cuts are.
  2. Rehydrate the dried radish by covering with water. Soak for 10-30 minutes {again, depends on different factors like personal taste, homemade vs store bought, smaller vs larger}.
  3. When the radish plumps to your liking, rinse, drain and squeeze out all excess moisture.
  4. Vigorously massage in the garlic, green onions, fish sauce, sesame oil, pepper flakes, honey and sesame seeds. Garnish with green onions or sesame seeds if desired.
  5. For the radish kimchi, sprinkle the cubed radish with salt and set aside for 30-45 minutes. Toss every 15 minutes to evenly distribute.
  6. While the radish is brining, create the kimchi paste.
  7. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the water and sweet rice flour.
  8. Cook on medium/low heat and whisk constantly. It's ready when it's thick and glossy. Set aside to cool.
  9. In a blender, mix the fish sauce, garlic, ginger, onion and apple until smooth.
  10. When the sweet rice mixture has cooled, combine with the Korean red pepper flakes and blended mixture.
  11. When the time is up, rinse and drain the radish.
  12. Work 1 cup of paste into the radish.
  13. Jumpstart fermentation on the counter top for 1-2 days. Refrigerate. It is ready to enjoy in a week.
  14. For the danmuji/pickles, brine the radish much like you did for the radish kimchi. Toss every 15 minutes for a total of 1 hour.
  15. Mix everything for the pickling liquid together: the water, vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
  16. After the hour is up, rinse and drain the radish and pour in the pickling liquid. Your radish pickles are ready in 1 week.

 

8 thoughts on “Korean Radish – 3 Ways & Recipes

  • Sylvia says:

    What type of vinegar do you use in your danmuji pickle recipe?

  • MB Billington says:

    I see that your pages have changed. Can’t say I’m fond of it. I’d rather have the quick and dirty way to find things, eg a list. I did get to see your beautiful wedding. You were gorgeous and I was tickled to see that you kept some tradition there. It warmed my heart. Anyway, the real reason I wanted to write was to let you know, after all this time, how my kimchi fared after 2 & 1/2 yrs. My cabbage kimchi is gone and was well used. Time to make more. The radish kimchi is really a surprise. Really good. Upon opening the container that I largely ignored for all this time, first I smelled garlic (which I adore ), then when I tasted, pure heaven. Garlic and chili pepper (Korean chili pepper, such a blend between spicy, mild, and sweet. It can’t be described. Must be experienced. A love I have found late in my life. ) I only wanted to pass on that you are providing a seriously good service that I certainly appreciate.

    • First off, thank you for being here. I greatly appreciate your feedback as communicating with you guys is top priority for me! Thank you for your kind words too. I love that you deeply fermented your stock and am greatly impressed with your success. Folks like you are why I do what I do. Huge hugs and well wishes!!

  • AllenGraph says:

    I love me some pickles

  • brian says:

    Ms Squish..i am going to NY city Nov28 on a bus trip to visit a friend and i want to try a korean restaurant there…what besides kimchi are considered the most popular/traditional meals to try??? bbq,kimbap, soups, etc?

    • I personally love the Korean bakeries. You can get milk bread, Korean shaved ice, bubble tea and so many other yummy pastries. Bbq, definitely {pork belly and bulgogi or galbi} I’m personally a lover of the silken tofu seafood soup. It’s ruby red, spicy and hot {so not a first pick for those who don’t like spicy} Jajangmyeon is a classic aka black bean noodles. My mother’s favorite is a Korean blood sausage called “soon-dae” and my father loves these Korean “waffles” that look like fish and filled with red beans. I may be biased, but there are so many delicious things, you really can’t go wrong! =)

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