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Baby Radish Kimchee, only for the early birds

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March 22, 2011

Baby Radish Kimchee, only for the early birds

So I went to my handy-dandy Korean store the other day and noticed a bunch of ladies gathered-up in the produce section, head to head around the pile of green thingy, trying to grab them as much as they can. I went close to see what they are digging in for.  
For my surprise, those green thingy were the young Korean baby radishes. They are only available in spring (sometimes early in the summer). They came to market quite early this year.
They are basically baby radish that had been harvested when they just started to grow. Tender, mild, crunch..., they make wonderful Kimchee for the warmer season. They don't get available in the groceries that often. No wonder those ladies are packing their plastic bags with these cuties. Of course all of them were all Koreans! 

Being a Korean housewife I had to be part of that early bird deal (they were selling very cheap) and was able to grab two bunches in the midst of all those desperate housewives.
So, I am going to show you how you can make a wonderful Kimchee with these babies. It is called  Yulmoo Kimchee (열무김치). It is easier and quicker to make (good news, right?) than most cabbage kimhcee. However, in most cases, this kimchee has more watery, juice like filling than other kimchee. The addition of fresh chili makes the juice so refreshingly cool and tangy once fermented. It will make a wonderful cold noodle dish - one of my old time favorite summer lunch, or a quick Bibimbap as well. A true rustic Korean way of enjoying the radish babies...

By the way, why all the babies have to be so cute whether they are of humans, animals, and even vegetables?


 Here are what you need. Baby radish, Asian pear, red chili, Korean chili flakes, garlic, salted shrimps, anchovy sauce, ginger, garlic, onion, glutinous rice powder, and sugar.

First thing you need to do... Make rice glue. Combine water and rice powder and let it boil until it gets slightly thicken, about 3-5 minutes string constantly. It will be very runny like syrup. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

 Cut off the piggy tails from the radish babies. Scrape off the outer skin gently with a blade of your knife. On the base, where the white meets green stems, remove all the soiled part of skin by cutting off a little.

Cut off the very end leafy part of the stem. They will be too tough. Discard!
You can say Good-bye or Sayonara to them. I usually save them to make soup, though...

Slice the radish to your middle finger size. Sorry! For being a decent educated woman, I just can't show my middle finger to you. Hope you understand.

 Rinse them gently twice. Be gentle! They are babies...  Drain well.

 Now you will need a good quality Korean coarse sea salt, about 1/2 cup.

 Take about 1/4 of these greens and sprinkle some salt all over. Repeat the layers.

 Let these babies to absorb salt for about 1 hr, turning once or twice in between.

You will see what salt did to these green guys. It sucked the life out of them.
Bad salt! No dessert for you!

 Rinse about 2-3 times and drain well. Be very gentle when you rinse them. DO NOT rub or massage. If you act rough on them they will be grassy on you.

 Meanwhile puree the pear in a blender. I love to see how the solid matter becomes liquid in one touch button.

 You want to filter the puree to get rid of the fiber and the foam. You will get clear juice that way, which creates gorgeous color and texture in Kimchee juice later on.

Process fresh chili, anchovy sauce, salted shrimp, garlic in a blender. You don't need puree finely on this guys.

 Now, get a big mixing bowl. Place the radish greens, add chili mixture, Korean chili flakes, sliced, fresh chilies and onions, sugar, and ginger. Pour the cooled rice glue and the pear juice.

 Very gently toss all together. Taste the juice to see if it is seasoned right for you. Add more anchovy sauce or salt according to your taste.

Two bunches of these baby radishes fit just right in a large ziplock container. 
Let it sit on the counter for 1-2 days and keep in the fridge for at least 1 week to ferment. 
This radish kimchee won't taste that good when freshly made but once they get fermented? 
Well, you won't get enough of them...

After one week...

Still vibrant in color,
Crunch yet tender greens,
The divine taste of the juice,
the Korean baby radish kimchee is ready to eat...

Baby Radish Kimchee
(열무김치, yulmoo kimchee)

2 bunches Korean baby radishes
1/2 cup Korean coarse sea salt
1/2 large onion, sliced
3 fresh red chilies, sliced
3 Tbsp Korean chili flakes 
2 tsp sugar
1 Asian pear, peeled, seeded, pureed, and filtered to collect clear juice

Rice glue:
2 Tbsp glutenous rice powder
4 cups water

4 fresh red chilies, diced
4 garlic cloves
1/2" ginger stem, peeled or 2 tsp pureed ginger
3 Tbsp salted shrimps
1 Tbsp anchovy sauce

Make a rice glue by combining water and the rice powder with a whisk in a small pot, and bring to boil. Let it thicken, about 3-5 minutes, stirring constatnly. The glue will be very runny almost like a syrup. Remove the pot from the heat and let the glue cool completely.

Cut off the long tails of the white part of the radish greens and scrape off the dirty outer skin with a blade of your knife. Make sure to clean on the base where it meets the green stems. Cut off the very end leafy parts of the stems as well. Discard them or save them for other uses, such as soup.
Cut the greens into about 2 1/2" - 3" long pieces.

Rinse the baby greens twice gently and drain. In a large mixing bowl spread 1/4 of the greens and sprinkle the 1/4 of salt all over. Repeat the layers until all the green gets sprinkled with salt evenly. Let it sit for 1 hour, turning them once or twice in between. You will see some water extracted from the greens and the volume has been reduced to nearly a half. Rinse 3 times very gently and drain well.

Process all the filling ingredients in a blender or food processor. In a large mixing bowl combine the radish greens, sliced chilies and onions, Korean chili flakes, pear juice, rice glue, and the filling. Toss very gently with hand until everything gets incorporated. The whole mixture will have lots of liquid. Taste the juice to adjust your seasoning if you need. You can add more salt or anchovy sauce according to your taste.

Transfer the Kimchee into airtight container. Let it ferment on a room temperature for 1-2 days and continue to ferment in the fridge for 1 week before you serve. Serve cool.

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At March 22, 2011 at 9:33 AM , Anonymous Erica S. said...

hehe, your comment "By the way, why all the babies have to be so cute whether they are of humans, animals, and even vegetables?" made me smile. It is so true! I don't know why, but it is!

This 열무 김치 looks great! Wish I had some baby 무 around here to try it out :)

At March 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM , Anonymous julie {chef julie yoon} said...

ummm... that looks really good. crunchy and delicious. I wanna make kimchi now...


At March 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks, Erica. Hope you can find the baby radish! If you find them pick chubby ones!

At March 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

I bet you can find thee baby radish quite often in CA. I am thinking of making cold buckwheat noodle soup with them soon.... Yum!

At March 22, 2011 at 11:33 PM , Anonymous Leigh Loper said...


At March 23, 2011 at 2:46 AM , Anonymous LucyL said...

If I can't find baby radish, what other veg could I use for this recipe instead? I don't think UK is as easy to source these babies!

At March 23, 2011 at 5:23 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

You can use baby cabbages if you can find. They are slender and tender than
full grown ones. I often mix them with baby radish when they both get
Or you can just use the pink radish (the one we see most often in the
western groceries) instead. I never tried making kimchee with pink radish
myself but Someone told me that it works but slightly tougher on green stem
parts. So perhaps use less salt when soaking (salt can make vegetable
slightly tougher while wilting them).

At March 23, 2011 at 3:53 PM , Anonymous pigpigscorner said...

So cute! I've never seen baby radishes before.

At March 24, 2011 at 2:48 AM , Anonymous LucyL said...

Great, thanks for your insight Holly!

At March 24, 2011 at 10:30 PM , Anonymous Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

I've only had radish kimchi but never baby cute!

At March 27, 2011 at 6:54 PM , Anonymous Andrea Smith said...

I stumbled upon your blog while researching how to grow radishes. I'm so excited that I found you! I'm an adopted Korean so I haven't been exposed to a lot of Korean cuisine. But my first taste of kimchi was love at first bite! I think it's a biological response. :)

I have to admit, I'm pretty intimidated by the Korean ingredients, but I'm so excited to try it myself!

At March 27, 2011 at 8:15 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Hi Andrea
I am glad, too, that you found my blog. You know I have met many adopted Koreans who never tried Korean food until their adulthood and they all said it was love at fist bite. You are right! It must be a biological response. Hope you'd be able to cook some Korean recipes.

At April 7, 2011 at 11:22 PM , Anonymous Caitididwaat said...

I've been reading your blog now for about a couple of months now and I have never before seen (or perhaps ever noticed) young radishes in stores and much to my surprise I found them this evening for rather cheap at the GrandMart on littleriver turnpike in northern Va. So of course I bought a couple of bundles right away! My question now is 1) do you HAVE to use rice powder if not could one use flour? and 2) if you don't have korean sea salt would kosher salt suffice?

At April 8, 2011 at 4:56 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

I am glad that you found the baby radishes.
Sweet rice powder is important ingredients in the recipe. However you can
use leftover cooked rice boiled in some water to loosen up to make thin
porridge consistency, then puree in the blender. You can use flour but it
will darken the color and the taste will alter the flavor slightly. So my
first choice would be 1) sweet rice powder 2) leftover rice made into
porridge 3) flour

For this Kimchee you can use kosher salt (NO table salt whatsoever) since
you don't soak them too long unlike cabbage kimchee. Use HALF the amount of
salt in the recipe though.
Hope this helps.


At April 13, 2011 at 12:41 PM , Anonymous Caitididwaat said...

I followed your advice and it was very helpful! I took a peek to see how the kimchee was coming along and it was... EXCELLENT! my first succesful kimchee (i've only tried once before). Thank you very very very much for the recipe and help. My close korean-american friend couldn't believe it :) I think him and I will now attempt to make more perhaps even baechu kichmee; we can't rely on his mom and grandmother forever. Although realizing the black chick can make darn good korean food just Might give them a heart attack lol.

At May 10, 2011 at 10:42 PM , Anonymous :D said...

Hi Holly, would this be the same recipe as regular radish kimchi? I have made kkak ttu gi before and it has never come out the way I want it to. It tends to taste too raw and by the time I let it ferment it's extra sour and still tastes raw!!! Can you please help wonderful awesome master of kimchi? :D

At May 11, 2011 at 5:13 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

No, unfortunately you can't use this recipe to general radish kimchee
If your radish taste very raw, does it mean bitter? Radishes are supposed to
be harvested in fall when they are fully grown and thy will be almost sweet.
Radishes that are available during summer tend to be slightly bitter.
The first thing you need to do is taste the raw radish first before you make
kimchee. You need to soak with some coarse salt first before you add kimchee
Adjust amount of sugar or honey depends on the sweetness you desire.
Also I always like to add rice glue to the filling when i make kimchee. Rice
glue (thin consistency) helps kimchee ferment faster and provides more
mellow flavor without bitterness. You just need a liitle bit (about 3-4 Tbsp
per radish)
Some restaurants add carbonated drinks such as 7-up or sprite to make
sweeter and cooler. But they tend to make radish mushy fast.
Hope these tips help you conquer the kkakttugi and brings you the victory!

Now, I better make some kkakttugi soon because thinking of it makes me


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