Kimchi for Bachelors
Chonggak translates to bachelor in Korean. This kimchi got it’s name because the radish used for the kimchi resembles a ponytail. Back in the old days in Korea, young men wore their hair in a long braid. Because the radish stem resembles the braid, the Altari radish was nicknamed bachelor, or Chonggak. Whether or not it is a favorite of bachelors, this particular kimchi is my favorite and very popular in Korean cuisine.
This is the first time we planted Altari radishes. Normally, we stick with the petite, round red radishes. However, over the winter my mother brought us a package of this Korean variety she picked up at the Asian market.
Altari is a unique small Korean radish that has pure white skin and flesh. It still has the bite of a regular radish, but the pure white, cylindrical body is what sets this radish apart from the rest. Like other radishes, Altari is a fast growing, cool season root vegetable. They do best when planted in the early spring or fall. We planted ours in late March (which is kinda late in this part of Georgia), but they grew fine. It took six weeks from planting time to harvest.
Harvest the Altari when the top of the root is poking out of the soil. The best part of this kimchi is the radish tops. So, you’ll want to harvest before the root flowers and the leaves get bitter and tough.
Clean and Salt the Radishes
The first step is to clean the radishes. Wash the radishes thoroughly, but keep the stems attached. Use a knife to scrap down the sides of the radishes to get some of the rough skin off. You can use a vegetable peeler for this step too.
Cut the radishes in half lengthwise. If the radishes are small or thin, you do not have to cut them in half. Once you finish cleaning and cutting the radishes, put them in a large, shallow bowl or in a clean sink.
Sprinkle the salt all over the radishes. Thoroughly mix the salt onto the radishes. Make sure the salt gets all over. Let it sit for 30 mins. After 1/2 hour, turn over the radishes and let it sit for another 30 minutes.
Prep the Ingredients
Ideally, you should make the “porridge” for the kimchi paste while the radishes are soaking. The porridge will act as a binder to keep the spices on the radishes. In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of all purpose flour. Mix thoroughly; make sure there are no flour lumps. Bring the mixture to a light boil. Cook the porridge until it’s thick and bubbly.
Add the garlic, Korean red pepper flakes, sugar and ginger to the porridge.
Mix it in
After the radishes have been washed and drained, add the chopped green onion to the bowl.
Let it Ferment
Kimchi gets its distinctive taste from fermentation. The fermentation process is what gives kimchi its famous sour taste. There are many varieties of kimchi made from napa cabbage, cucumbers and scallions to name a few. Fermentation enhances the digestibility and nutritional value of vegetables,When kimchi is consumed, it populates the intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria.This makes for good gut health! Plus, kimchi is tasty.
To ferment the Chonggak kimchi,pack the radishes tightly in a glass container with a lid. You can eat the kimchi immediately, but it gets better if you let it ferment. Depending on the temperature in your home, this can take 3-5 days. Leave it out on your counter for a few days. You’ll know that the kimchi is ready when it smells slightly sour and the radish greens will be a yellow-green color. At this point, put the kimchi in the refrigerator.
My favorite way to eat Chonggak kimchi is with beef and radish soup (not the Altari radish, but a larger variety of daikon radish). Enjoy it with a steaming bowl of rice or with a juicy steak.
- 4 1/2 lbs of Altari radishes
- 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Flour
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tb of sugar
- 10 cloves of garlic, minced (or more if you like)
- 1 bunch of green onion, chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup Korean red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup Fish Sauce
- Clean the radishes. Scrape down the sides of the radishes with a knife or vegetable peeler; removing the rough outer layer. Keep the greens attached.
- Slice the radishes in half lengthwise.
- Place the radishes in a large shallow bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of kosher salt. Massage the salt in.
- Let the radishes soak for 1/2 hour. After the first 1/2 hour, turn the radishes over and let it soak another half hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the porridge for the kimchi paste. In a medium saucepan, add the 1/4 cup of flour and 2 cups of water; mix well.
- Bring the flour and water mixture to a light boil. Cook the mixture until it thickens. Once it's done, let it cool completely.
- Add the chopped ginger, minced garlic,sugar and red pepper flakes to the porridge. Mix well.
- After an hour, rinse the radishes several times in cold water. Drain the excess water by placing the radishes in a large colander for a few minutes.
- Once drained,place the radishes in a large bowl and add the chopped green onions.
- Add in the kimchi paste.
- Using your hands (you may want to use gloves), thoroughly mix the paste and radishes. Be sure to coat each radish with a generous amount of kimchi paste.
- Place the kimchi in a glass jar with a lid. Let in sit at room temperature for 3-5 days until fermented.
- After the kimchi has fermented, you can refrigerate.