Ponytail Kimchi (Chonggak kimchi: 총각김치)

Ponytail Kimchi (Chonggak kimchi: 총각김치)


I’m very excited to introduce chonggak kimchi to you today, a special kind of kimchi made with radishes called chonggakmu. Chonggak kimchi is often translated as “ponytail kimchi.” I think it’s an awesome translation because the name not only sounds cute but the greens on the radish look like real ponytail. You’ll never forget the name once you hear it.

The full recipe is on my website:

Chongakmu (2 kilograms, or 4½ pounds), salt, onion, garlic, flour, sugar, fish sauce, hot pepper flakes, green onions

Total preparation time: 1½ hours

Prepare the radishes:
1. Peel the radishes but keep the green stems attached. Cut off the tails and remove the dead leaves.
2. Cut the radishes in half lengthwise. Grab the 2 halves with both hands, split the greens, and put them into a large basin or bowl. Repeat this until you’ve cleaned all the radishes.
*tip: If the radishes are small bite sizes (about 2 inches long), skip this step

Salt the radishes:
1. Add some cold water to the radishes in the basin, and then drain.
2. Sprinkle the radishes with ½ cup of kosher salt and mix with your hands. Let it sit in the salt for 30 minutes.
3. 30 minutes later, turn over the radishes so they salt evenly and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Total salting takes 1 hour.
4. Wash the radishes thoroughly about 4-5 times to remove any dirt and excess salt, and drain in a colander.

Make porridge for the kimchi paste:
1. Mix ¼ cup flour and 2 cups of water in a pot and heat over medium heat.
2. Keep stirring until it thickens. When you see some bubbles, add 2 tbs sugar and stir for 1 more minute before removing from the heat.
3. Cool it down.

Make kimchi!
1. Mince 12 cloves of garlic and half a medium sized onion (about ½ cup worth of onion). Chop 5 stalks of green onion. Set aside.
2. Transfer the porridge to a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the minced garlic and onion, 1 cup hot pepper flakes, ¼ cup fish sauce, and the chopped green onions. Mix well.
4. Add the ponytail radishes and mix well with your hands.
*tip: Wear rubber gloves so that your hands won’t be sore later
You can eat it right after making it, but this kimchi is more tasty when it ferments.

To ferment:
1. Transfer the kimchi to a glass jar or a plastic container and keep it at room temperature for a couple of days.
*tip: When it ferments, it will smell and taste sour, and the color of the greens will change to olive green.
2. When the kimchi ferments, scoop some kimchi juice from the bottom of the container to the top so that the top layer of the kimchi won’t dry out and your kimchi will be juicy.

Keep it in the refrigerator and enjoy!