Gool Kkakdugi (Daikon Radish Kimchi With Oysters)

Kkakdugi is a widely-loved kimchi made with cubed cuts of mu, or Korean radishes. In fact, the term "kkakdug" refers to the cubed shape. Legend has it that this cubed radish kimchi was a result of a culinary mistake, but the cubed shape actually make for an ideal radish kimchi.

The addition of gool, or oysters, levels up this kimchi both in flavor and value. It's actually not standard to put in the oysters, but it is a special ingredient usually added in dishes that are predicted to be laid out on a festive table or a special occasion.

The raw oysters may be off-putting for some, but it may offer some comfort to those who are less brave that mu actually has naturally anti-bacterial qualities. This may be why you often see daikon  presented with raw seafood in Eastern Asian cuisine (think sashimi platters). 

For oyster lovers, this is your perfect kimchi.

Ingredients

  • 2 large mu, or Korean daikon radishes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/8 cupe coarse sea salt (preferably chunilyeom)
  • 3 green onions, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces 
  • 1 bundle or 2 cups of mustard greens (I used purple mustard greens), finely chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped (~1 cup)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger (~1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup anchovy sauce
  • 1/2 cup gochugaru
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of saewoojut (Korean salted shrimp)
  • 1 tablespoon saewoojut brine
  • 8 oz of raw oysters (I bought flash frozen at the Korean market)

Cut off the green tops and peel mu with a vegetable peeler before cutting into cubes. To make even sized cubes, first lay the mu on its side and slice the mu into 1/2 inch rounds.

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First slice mu into rounds.

To ensure safety, feel free to cut mu on a towel or paper towel.

Laying the rounds on its flat side, cut the mu 3 or 4 slices across once vertically then once horizontally. Viola, you have mu cubes!

 

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Cube the mu like so.

To get the job done faster, slice 2 or 3 at a time.

Combine cubed mu and 1/8 cup of sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 45 minutes. You will see that there will be quite a bit of water drawn out from the mu due to the salt. Discard this water and let mu drain out in colander, but do not rinse! 

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Mu is high in water content.

Salting before making into kimchi is crucial to seasoning and avoiding a watery kimchi.

While the mu is brining, thaw out your oysters in cool salted water if they are frozen. Proceed to making the yangnyumjang (seasoning). Puree onions, garlic, ginger and anchovy sauce until smooth. Set aside.

When prepping your green onions, a good rule of thumb is to cut the greens in the same length as your mu. The greens are there for flavor, but you want the mu to shine in appearance.

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Tip!

Slice the white part of the green onions in half before slicing into bite sized pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, combine mu, green onions, mustard greens, saewoojut + brine, sugar, gochugaru and the puree by hand. 

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Combine all ingredients except oysters first.

To ensure the oysters maintain intact and pretty.

Once the mixture is well combined, add in the oysters and fold in gently. Now taste! You want the kimchi to actually taste a bit saltier than you'd like. The flavors will develop perfectly after fermentation. Add in more salt to taste if you prefer. I ended up putting in a teaspoon more in the end.

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Time for jarring! I placed my kkakdugi in glass jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of space from the lid on top as gas will cause the kimchi to expand. Try your very best to ensure no air pockets are in your kimchi jar. To avoid air pockets, I gently but firmly press down on top of the kimchi with my knuckle as I jar them. 

After placing a lid on your jars, let your kkakdugi sit out in a cool place away from direct sunlight or heat. The ideal temperature to ferment this kimchi would be about 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit for a course of a day and half to two days.

If the temperature is warmer, just remember that fermentation will occur faster so make sure to check on your kimchi everyday! The taste should be slightly tangy, but not acidic, and with a good crunch.

After fermenting, store in the refrigerator.