Last in this week's impromptu banchan series is ggakdugi (Gahk-doo-ghee), a type of kimchi made with Korean white radish (moo). Ggakdugi is simple to make, making it a good choice for beginners. In fact, this was my first kimchi attempt, and I can say it's much less intimidating than it sounds.
I began with recipes from both Eating and Living and Maangchi and ended up with my own adaptation below. According to my mom, you don't need rice powder, which helps thicken the sauce. Also, although fermented shrimp is often used in making kimchi, I followed Maangchi's suggestion and used fish sauce instead, just to see if the result would be noticeably different. After three days of fermenting at room temperature in my kitchen, the ggakdugi tasted perfect, just like my mom's. I'll definitely keep this recipe around; next time, I'll use saewootjeot (fermented shrimp) instead of fish sauce.
- 2 medium to large moo (Korean white radish), peeled
- 1/3 cup sea salt
- 1 tsp. minced ginger
- 2/3 cup gochukaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 4 stalks green onion, chopped into 1-inch segments
- Approx. 5 cloves garlic, minced
- Approx. 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/3 cup reserved radish brine
- Cut each moo into thick disks (about 3/4-inch to 1-inch wide), then cut each disk into rough blocks. They should be about 1-inch wide, though obviously you'll have some rounded corners.
- In a large bowl, toss the radish with the sea salt, and let this sit for about thirty minutes, until much of the water has come out of the radish.
- Drain the radishes, placing a bowl beneath your colander to collect the brining liquid. Set aside 1/3 cup of the brining liquid.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the ginger, gochukaru, fish sauce, green onion, garlic, sugar, and reserved brining liquid. Taste. If it's too spicy, add some more sugar. If you don't think it has enough funk, add some fish sauce. Keep in mind that the way the mixture tastes now is not how it will taste in a few days, after fermentation. Fermentation will make the flavors mellow and harmonious, i.e. a lot less funk.
- In the large bowl that you salted the radish, toss the radish blocks with the spicy mixture. Make sure each cube of radish is adequately coated.
- To store the ggakdugi, put it in an airtight container, like a big jar or tupperware. I used what I had on hand: A leftover plastic tub that previously contained nuts and a small tupperware.
Eat right away if you like, or let the ggakdugi sit at room temperature for 1-3 days to let it ferment. You will know fermentation has occurred when you open the container and see bubbles (it's alive!). At that point, stick the ggakdugi in the fridge. It will continue to ferment, and you'll notice how the flavor changes over the course of a few weeks.