Radish kimchi

Radish kimchi

Speaking to the theme of bottling up your feelings, I started fermenting and pickling in Melbourne’s first extended lockdown more than 18 months ago. Now well into our sixth (?) – I’m still at it. And loving it.

This is a recipe for radish kimchi, and is great as a side dish. The red radish retains a lovely crunch even after fermentation.


  • 3 bunches (approx 700g) of red radishes with their tops, trimmed of any wilting and yellow leaves 
  • 1 small radish 
  • 1 small carrot  
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 6 stalks of spring onion 
  • 2/3 cup of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled
  • 3 tbs fish sauce 
  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup water 


Make the glutinous rice flour porridge first. In a small pot, combine the glutinous rice flour and water and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and keep stirring (I find a small whisk really helps) until the mixture thickens into a gloopy translucent paste. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. 

Next, wash the radishes thoroughly, at least 4 times making sure all grit is removed, and drain in a colander.

Depending on the size of your red radishes, half or quarter the radishes. The tops should still be attached to some of them. These can all be eaten, so don’t throw them out!

In a large bowl, combine the red radishes and salt and set aside for 40min. 

Meanwhile, peel and shred or finely julienne the radish and carrot. 

Slice the spring onions in halve lengthways and then into 5cm lengths.

Returning to your red radishes, drain the excess brine, reserving 1/2 cup of brine. 

Rinse well, about 3-4 times, rinsing off the salt from the red radishes and tops. The radishes will taste pretty salty at this point but that’s okay, and normal. Set aside to drain in a colander while you get on with the seasoning paste.

To make the kimchi paste, in a small food processor, blitz the garlic, ginger, gochugaru and fish sauce into a paste. Add the cooled glutinous rice flour porridge and blitz again. 

Time to toss! In a large bowl, combine the red radishes, shredded radish and carrots and spring onions, add the kimchi paste and mix well. 

Transfer to a container that has space enough for a bit of head room. Let sit at room temperature away from direct sunlight for about 2-3 days. Taste along the way and it’s ready when the red radishes have a slight acidity to them and even a little fizz. They should still be crunchy. 

Refrigerate. These will keep for up to a month. 

Looking for a classic kimchi recipe?

Classic and quick kimchi has also been something I’ve been making on a regular basis. I’ve used Maangchi’s recipes, and I’m sharing the links below:

Maangchi’s easy kimchi

Maangchi’s Easy kimchi: A recipe that makes for a quick ferment (i.e. a couple of days on the counter top) but benefits from a slow ferment in the fridge thereafter. It gets better with time.

Maangchi’s traditional napa cabbage kimchi recipe: The above pictures were from my first attempt at making kimchi. Some lessons I learnt along the way:

  • Choose gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes) that are a lovely vibrant red. You can definitely see the difference between this and the other pics above.
  • Look for a fine ground rather than a coarse one. This will make for a much less grainy kimchi paste.