Kkakdugi Banchan

Kkakdugi BanchanAlmost everyone is familiar with kimchi. Smelly fermented cabbage, right? I’m pretty sure that most of the people who won’t touch it fall into one of two categories: “I don’t do spicy”or “Ew, cabbage! Icky!” Well, if you are a member of the latter group let me introduce you to a very pleasant option. Kkakdugi.

Yeah, I know the name doesn’t do it any good, but what can I say? It’s Korean. This dish was originally created by Princess Sukseon somewhere in the later half of the 18th century accidentally [or experimentally] and was given the name gakdokgi (각독기 刻毒氣) deriving from the word for cubing foods, ggakduk sseolgi (깍둑썰기). It eventually evolved into the kkakdugi name that we know today.

Kkakdugi in jarBasically it’s the same as traditional kimchi, but the napa cabbage is replaced with cubed Korean radish. Korean radish has a green upper portion, while the daikon radish, commonly substituted, is white all the way to the greens. Either one is fine for the purpose of this dish.

For me, there are two things that stand out about kkakdugi; the abundant ginger, and the quick fermenting time. Unlike it’s cabbage counterpart that is sometimes buried for as long as 2-3 years this kimchi is left to ferment for only 4-8 hours. Make it in the morning, and have it for lunch or dinner. <—-I like that!

4 banchan small

Four Banchan and Rice. From left to right clockwise Kongjang, Gamja Jorim, Kkakdugi, Classic Kimchi

Now, as far as heat? Well, you can control that. The radish has some heat to it, and then gochugaru is as added to finish it off. Use the basic amount in this recipe, or double it for a really nice kick.

Since this is normally served as a banchan with rice, a typical dish would only contain a small serving to go along side one’s other main dishes. Make a jar full and keep it in the fridge, and you will have plenty of kkakdugi for several meals, for several people.

Kkakdugi – Korean Radish Kimchi (Basic Easy Version)

By:semiserious chefs
Serves: many banchan


  • 1.5 pounds Korean or Daikon radish
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 T white sugar
  • 1 T rice flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 large cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 1 T fish sauce (or worcestershire)
  • 1 T packed brown sugar
  • 1 T gochugaru (or more to taste)
  • 3 green onions julienne


  1. Cube the radish and toss with salt and white sugar in a colander, and let rest while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a small sauce pan or mini skillet add the rice flour and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat just long enough for it to thicken, and remove from heat.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, fish sauce, brown sugar, gochugaru, along with the flour-water slurry in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the ‘drained’ radish (do not rinse) and the onions to the bowl with sauce and toss.
  5. Place this mixture in a jar someplace cool and out of direct sunlight for 4-8 hours.
  6. Toss and serve as desired. Enjoy!

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