The last few weeks, I’ve been getting radishes in my CSA Box. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of radishes, and don’t usually do anything with them other than eat them in salads or as a snack. However, I spotted some radish kimchi at one of the stands at our local farmer’s market earlier this summer and wanted to try making it myself. What a fantastic idea. Koreans typically use daikon radish for making kimchi, so why not red radishes.
Last summer, I made Napa Cabbage Kimchi, Kohlrabi Kimchi and Spicy Cucumber Salad, all using fresh vegetables from my CSA Box. For this Radish Kimchi, I sliced the radishes into 1/4″ pieces instead of cubing them as daikon kimchi is usually prepared. I love how pretty the red skin of these radishes is when sliced.
Kimchi is a fermented food, much like miso, soy sauce, kosher sour pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt. More recently, kombucha (fermented tea) and kefir have become popular fermented foods. Fermenting foods has been around for a long time and was used as a way to preserve foods. Today, fermented foods are recognized for their active bacteria cultures that help promote the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria, and aid in the digestion and support of the immune function, including an increase in B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase and lactic acid, and other immune chemicals that fight off harmful bacteria and possible cancer cells.
According to Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation, fermentation simply allows microflora (e.g., yeast, bacteria, molds) to grow on food, changing its nature as the microorganisms ingest sugars or alcohols and excrete carbon dioxide, acids or alcohols.
Radish Kimchi Recipe
- 3 cups red radishes sliced 1/4" thick
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 scallion chopped
- 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder
- 1/2 teaspoon organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce or soy sauce for vegan version
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- Toss radishes with all the ingredients. Let sit at room temperature in a bowl covered with saran wrap for one day. Refrigerate. Serve col.