Bachelor Kimchi (Ponytail Radish Kimchi)
Bachelor kimchi is a popular radish kimchi made with Ponytail radish. It retains its crunchiness even after the long fermentation. This mild radish kimchi is fun to make and delicious to eat! I believe everyone should make this at least once.
I often find that Koreans name their kimchi in a very honest way. This particular kimchi called, Bachelor Kimchi , is one of them. This ponytail radish kimchi is one of the popular kimchi, especially among women.
Chonggak means bachelor in Korean and this kimchi was named to honor the bachelors. You might wonder how these weird radish breed can honor the bachelors. Well, here’s the story.
Why is it named Bachelor Kimchi?
In the ancient days in Korea, single men (bachelors) had a very long braided hair. The shape of ponytail radish with their white radish part and the long leafy green part mimics the look of the braided hair of bachelors, so the kimchi was named after. When the single men gets married, they put their braided hair into a bun.
Although the original name for this kimchi is chonggak kimchi (총각김치), some people calls altari mu kimchi (알타리 무김치) instead. Altiari is the name for this particular Korean radish.
I have to say this is perhaps my favorite type of kimchi. It has a deep robust flavor when fully fermented and still holds the crunchy texture that is so irresistible to bite on.
Unlike napa cabbage kimchi, this radish kimchi is not ideal to eat when freshly made. After fermenting for a few days though, you will find the flavor and the texture to be quite addictive. I just can’t get enough.
These adorable radishes are called “Altari Moo (알타리 무)”, the inspirational vegetable of our bachelor kimchi. You will find them in many Korean markets. I even found some in my local farmers market the other day.
How to make Bachelor Kimchi (Ponytail Radish Kimchi)
Step 1: Clean ponytail radish
Scrape off the dirty surface of radish. And let’s cut off the hideous pony tail on top of his head. Unless the skin of radish seems to dirty, you don’t need to peel.
Cut it in half or quarter lengthwise if the radishes are too big.
Step 2: Salt brine to radish
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and let them sit for 2 hours, turning once or twice during that time.
Rinse them well and let them drain in a colander.
Step 3: Make Fish stock and rice paste
Meanwhile, make a fish stock by using dried pollock slices or anchovies. Reserve 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon the stock and discard the fish.
Combine the 3/4 cup stock and 2 tablespoon of sweet rice flour. Let it cook over medium heat until thickens, stirring constantly. It should take about 2-3 minutes. Let cool.
You will only use 1/2 cup of this glue. Freeze the leftover for later use to make other kimchi.
Step 4: Kimchi seasoning paste
In a blender, puree the onion, garlic, ginger, apple, and 2 tablespoon of the fish stock until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of rice glue, 1/2 cup Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), onion garlic puree mixture, sugar, anchovy sauce, and salted shrimp (saeujeot). Mix well and let it sit for 10 minutes to incorporate.
The time has come to assemble the bachelors…!
I used a baking sheet to do the job. Just smother the chili paste mixture onto the radishes until they fully and evenly coated. You might want to do this a small batches at a time to avoid overflowing.
How to ferment and store Korean Radish Kimchi
Put kimchi in an airtight container or glass jar and let them sit on the room temperature for 2 days, then transfer to the refrigerator and continue to ferment for 5 more days. They should be so ready to eat.
After a week of fermentation, your kimchi will be just perfect; crunch, robust, and full of bacteria! (I mean the probiotics, you know.)
This bachelor kimchi yields a slightly different flavor than most radish kimchi (Kkakdugi) that people are accustomed to, but this has to be the most beloved radish kimchi of all. Maybe because its name?
So you might wonder and ask;
“Then, are there kimchi called Bachelorette Kimchi?” Well, the answer is “No!”. I hope you get to enjoy these adorable bachelors on your Korean table someday.
Bachelor Kimchi (Ponytail Radish Kimchi)
- 3 1/4 lb young radish bunches
- 1/2 cup Korean coarse sea salt
- 1 handful dried shredded pollock , or 5-6 dried large anchovies
- 2 tablespoon sweet rice flour (chapssal-garu)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 apple, diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 inch ginger
- 3 tablespoon Korean anchovy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Korean salted shrimp, optional
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- Clean the radish by scraping off the dirty surface and cut off the tail. Keep the green leafy stem part is attached to the radish. Cut the white part of radish in half of quarter if they are too big. Rinse them well.
- In a large shallow bowl on in a kitchen sink, place the radishes and sprinkle with sea salt evenly all over. Let them soak for 2 hours, turning once or twice. When the radishes seem wilted and lifeless, rinse in a water a couple of times and drain in a colander. Let them sit while you are getting the filling ready.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine dried pollock or anchovies with 2 cups of water and bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Strain to reserve 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon of stock. Discard the fish.
- In a small pot, combine 3/4 cup of reserved stock with 2 tablespoon of sweet rice flour. Bring them to med-high heat to boil and thicken, whisking constantly. This is the sweet rice paste (You will only use 1/2 cup of this paste). Let it cool.
- In a blender, combine onion, apple, garlic, ginger, salted shrimps (if using), with the reserve 2 tablespoon of fish stock. Puree them until very smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of the reserved sweet rice glue, Korean chili flakes, anchovy sauce, and sugar. Mix well and let it sit for 10 minutes for the chili flakes to soften up.
- In a large shallow mixing bowl or a baking pan, place the radishes and smother with the chili mixture. You might need to do this in batches to avoid overflowing. Toss, rub and incorporate the chili mixture to evenly coat the radishes and its leafy stems.
- Store the radish kimchi in a airtight container and let it sit on the room temperature for 2 days first, then store in the refrigerator for 5 more days. Your bachelor kimchi should be ready to eat. (Toss the kimchi with the kimchi juice on the bottom)