Saturday, November 28, 2009

깍두기 Korean Spicy Radish (Kak-du-gi)

If you enjoy Korean food, I am sure you've tried this dish - 깍두기 or Kak-du-gi (Spicy Korean Radish Kimchi). This recipe is definitely a keeper. I've made this three times already and I just have to have it whenever I eat Korean food. Even when I'm not eating Korean food, I take this out and eat with whatever I'm eating. It's that good. I found this recipe on a Korean recipe blog but I made a slight change to the recipe. The original recipe calls for shrimp juice but I'm not a big fan of it. I prefer regular fish sauce.

(Click on the photo below to view the original photo.)

Koreans have different types of Kimchi and Kak-du-gi is one of them. Korean radishes are usually big around and short. Make sure to get Korean radishes, not Japanese. Japanese radishes are usually long and skinny and many people call them daicon. Some local groceries have these. Most Korean grocery stores definitely have these radishes. It is also a very important ingredient for homemade Kimchi. So look for these radishes if you're interested in making this recipe or kimchi.

The radishes get softer as time goes on but remains crunchy for a long time. Kak-du-gi tastes better as time goes on, creating juice from the radishes. The juice is what makes any kind of kimchi great!

Don't be afraid to try this great, healthy and traditional Korean radish recipe! I dedicate this recipe to all those who share the love for Korean food.

깍두기 (Kak-du-gi)

Printable Recipe


1 Korean radish

1 teaspoon sugar
very coarse salt (preferably salt for kimchi if you can find it) - use only very coarse salt

Kak-du-gi marinade-

2 tablespoons Sand Lance sauce (까나리 액젓) or fish sauce
2 green onions, chopped
5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (for Kimchi)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
pinch of salt


Wash the radish and peel the skin. Dice the radish in squares, about 2 inches big.

Now, this part is very important! Place the diced radish in a big bowl. Sprinkle very coarse salt over the radish. I use about three big pinches using all my fingers, not just the thumb and index fingers and mix the radish and salt together. Sprinkle with sugar and a little bit of water over the salted radish and mix well with hand. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let stand for at least 3-4 hours, up to 6 hours.

Uncover the plastic wrap on the bowl. You'll find a lot of water in the bowl. That is a very good sign! Drain the water and rince the radish in cold water.

Prepare the marinade by mixing all ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour the marinade in the radish bowl. Mix the two well with hand until all the radish is covered with the marinade. Store it in a container and refrigerate it. I usually wait about 2-3 days before I start eating my kak-du-gi. The first two days, the kak-du-gi will be very hard and makes your stomach a little acidy. So wait for a couple of days. The radish will be in perfect texture!


Sook the Cook


  1. Mmmm...I love this. Crunchy and spicy :)

  2. My mouth is salivating! I love radish kimchi, will try this recipe.

  3. That sounds simple,but delicious!

  4. of cos I have to be included....I really love Korean food. This is one of the best...very appetising like cabbage kimchi.

  5. Christine-
    I hope you like the recipe! It is crunchy and yummy.

  6. Mary-

    Isn't Kak-du-gi so good? It's funny because I used to never really appreciate this dish but now that I've been away from Korea for so long, I miss the simplest, everyday dish that I used to have in Korea.