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Winter Radish Kimchi (non-spicy)

동치미: Dong Chi Mi

This kimchi reminds me of my mother so much. It's something she used to make often - I remember a large container of this kimchi sitting at the top of our porch during winter time in Utah and also in Korea, of course.  It is one of our families' favorite kimchi.  And because it doesn't need any gochugaru (red pepper flakes)- it's easy to make wherever you are in the world.  It's not spicy but still punchy! It is a crundh and has a refreshing briney soup.  I love the punchy soup of this kimchi- just eating it plain after crunching through all the veg. Or you can add noodles + boiled egg to it to make a naeng myun (cold noodle) style meal.   

Makes 1.5 liters of Kimchi

What you need: 

Mu/Daikon/Mooli - 800g (2 medium sized daikon) Traditionally Mu, a Korean radish, is used. I'm using Daikon a.k.a. Mooli and it works really well!

Sweet Potato - about half a medium sized one (100g). If you can find a white one, it will make the soup a little cloudy.  Any colour of sweet potato is fine- just note that it may affect the colour of your soup but the taste wil be the same so no worries. 

Spring Onion - 2 sprigs 

Crispy Apple - 1 medium (abt 100g or 1 cup chopped) - Traditionally a crispy Asian Pear is used in this recipe but they are difficult to find outside of Asian supermarkets. A crispy apple is a perfect substitute. 

Onion - 1 medium (abt 100g or 1 cup chopped) 

Garlic - 1 large clove (abt 7 g or 1.5-2 tsp diced)

Ginger - 1 small thumb size piece (abt 4 g or 1 full tsp diced)

Chili - 1 or 2 Optional! Only add this if you want a bit of spice. If you add more it will be spicier! 

*Water - Variable because it depends on the container you are using. In my case I used 5 cups of water (240ml x 5=1200ml) You need to submerge all the veg (so the veg will float) and still leave about 1/2 inch to 1 inch from the top space. 

*Sea Salt - 4.5 tsp for 5 cups of water (breakdown below) 

2 tsp + 1% of water amount i.e. 1200ml Water x 1% = 12ml salt or 2.5 tsp salt 

Salt is variable as it depends on the amount of water you use 

Cooking tools:  Container large enough to hold all ingredients with around 2 -3 inches left from top. Large Bowl, Mesh strainer & fork, Measuring cups. 

What to do: 

First thing to do is to boil the sweet potato in a small pot. Chop into blocks about 1 inch long and submerge in water. Boil until soft. This takes about 20 min. Whilst its boiling away, prepare the other ingredients. 

Wash and peel your Daikon. Cut away any tougher bits on the ends or near the roots. These do not get softer with fermentation.  Also get rid of any imperfections (dark spots for example).  Cut into sticks about finger size (1cm each way and about 2 inches long). Put the daikon sticks into the container you will use to ferment.  Add 2 tsp of sea salt and toss.  Leave to salt for about 20 min whilst you prepare everything else.

Cup the Apples, Spring Onions and Onions into similar length peices. For the Apple- thinly slice (abt 1/4 cm) . Onions- peel, halve and slice thinly (about 1/4 - 1/2 cm wide).  For the Spring Onions, wash and chop into 2 inch peices. Cut the thicker white parts length-wise in half.  Add these to the Daikon. 

Mince the Garlic and Ginger.   If you want to a spice kick, add chillis. Deseed and slice diagonally. Add  to the rest of the ingredients.   Mix everything together well.  You will see that the salted Daikon will have produced some liquid now. 

Set aside everything aside and prepare the dong chi mi liquid. 

Once the sweet potato is soft - when you pierce it with a fork it should go in easily.  Remove the sweet potato from the water, cool then peel.  Grab a large bowl or pot.  Add 2-3 cups of water to the bowl.  Mash or rub the Sweet Potato through a mesh strainer into the water, filtering out the larger fibers from the sweet potato.  You can also run the sweet potato water through the mesh strainer to catch fibers. Basically, you want a cloudy water. Now it's time to add the salt. Calculate 1% of the water amount- i.e. 3 cups = 240ml x 3 = 720 ml = 7g salt (about 1.5 tsp). Add salt to the water.  Mix until the salt has completely dissolved. The water should taste reasonably salty.  Pour this into the container over the ingredients.  

Depending on your container - you may need more water. The ingredients need to fully submerged AND you need to leave space for 1 inch from the top of your container so it doesn't overflow.  You will know its submerged when the ingredients are floating. In my case, I needed 5 cups water total.  For the remaining 2 cups of water- pour into the bowl or pot you were using.   Add 1% sea salt (480ml x 1% = 4.8g so roughly 1 tsp) and mix until dissolved.  Pour into the container. Once you are happy with your water level, cover well and leave at room temperature to ferment. 

The time it takes to ferment really depends on the climate you live in. You can ferment it indoors or outdoors. Typically it takes between 1-2 days in warmer weather and a few days in cooler temperatures. 

How do you know it's ready? The Dong chimi liquid will be bubbling and fizzy. I was surprised at how loud it can be when you first open the cover.  When you taste it, get a clean and dry spoon and taste a daikon and onion. They should no longer be sharp or have any traces of being raw.  If the Daikon and Onion do taste a bit sharp or raw - this means it needs to be out longer to ferment.  Once you can taste that the ingredients have mellowed (no more raw or sharp edge).  Put it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation.

How to serve? 

Dongchimi should be served cold, out of the fridge. Just scoop the ingredients and soup into a bowl and enjoy as a side to pretty much anything!  This kimchi pairs really nicely with Baked Sweet Potato too! 

You can also add the soup and ingredients to some thin noodles, add a boiled egg and enjoy it as a refreshing cold noodle soup.