Growing daikons is very easy; cooking something nice with them is a bit more demanding. I tried a Korean recipe, radish kimchi or Kkakdugi it’s called (not that I could pronounce that!). I never tasted it before, so I can’t tell how close I am to the original.
What I did is a cross of several recipes, looking for less exotic ingredients. The main recipe I referred to is this one.
I harvested a scant 2 kg of radishes, leaving enough for further experiments. All of the original recipes ask for 4 tbsp of Korean chilli flakes per kilo of radishes, I reduced the amount to maybe half of it and I used ordinary chilli flakes, it seemed just too much. Instead of the scant 4 scallion stalks, I used garlic chives, because that’s what I have in abundance after planting it around the currant bushes to fence off the currant borers (it did not work). I replaced the rice flour with plain flour and reduced the amount of salt to get a milder taste. Fish sauce is about the only exotic ingredient in my version. This was the only recipe mentioning apples, so I left it out. Most of the recipes don’t mention fermentation, but isn’t that the most important step?
The quantities given are for approximately 1 kg:
1 kg daikon washed,
1 Tbsp salt dissolved in 1 litre of water (brine),
1 big bunch of garlic chives cut finely,
1 tbsp plain flour + ¼ cup of water
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
Chilli flakes to taste
1 tbsp garlic minced
½ tbsp. ginger
How to make daikon kimchi:
- Peel radishes wherever necessary and cut them into cubes.
- Place them in a non-metallic (and possibly non-plastic) bowl, add the brine and let it sit for several hours.
- Drain brine out in a colander, place the radishes back into the bowl and mix the chillies and the green onions in.
- Cook a porridge with the water and the flour: Place the flour into a small skillet adding the cold water little by little stirring to avoid clumps. Cook for some minutes constantly stirring.
- Mix the porridge with the sugar, the fish sauce, the garlic and the ginger and then combine it well with the radishes.
- Find a glass very clean (!) jar which is pretty straight so that you can weigh it down with another jar, a snug-fitting clean (!) stone or similar. Fill with the radish mixture, press down and then weigh down.
After only a day a lot of brine developed. We tried the result after three days and it was incredibly pungent, not from the spices but from the radish. After a few days, more the pungency mellowed and the result was quite nice. I will use that recipe again!