I said goodbye to my parents this morning. They’re currently driving cross-country back to Atlanta. I was sad to see them go, which surprised me since normally I can’t wait to leave after spending too much time with them.
After my gallbladder surgery last month, my parents drove from Atlanta to Las Vegas to make sure I was eating and recovering. I wasn’t able to eat much other than porridge or oatmeal and didn’t care to eat since I had no appetite. My mom kept insisting I eat Dongchimi or Mul Kimchi to help with digestion.
I ate it growing up, but I didn’t realize it’s a food that people eat when they’re recovering from any GI illness or after fasting. My dad used to eat it after fasting, and he did some crazy long fasts up to 40 days.
Unlike other kimchi recipes, dongchimi (동치미) is a mild radish water kimchi. The word dongchimi translates to winter kimchi (dong for winter and chimi for kimchi). Though traditionally eaten during the winter and fermented for weeks at a time, in modern-day we make this quick and easy version to enjoy year-round.
Mom’s Dongchimi Recipe
4 cups water
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1 bulb garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup green onion, 1-inch slices
1/2 onion, sliced
4 cups korean radish, sliced
1½ cup carrots, julienned
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 red Korean pepper (optional)
- Add water and sweet rice flour to pot and stir over medium heat as you bring it to a boil.
- In a large bowl, add green onion, onion, garlic, Korean radish, carrot, salt, and sugar and mix well.
- Press down and wait 15-20 minutes until the radish softens.
- Transfer content into a jar or container (we use a 1 gallon kimchi jar).
- Pour the flour-water mixture into the jar and fill the jar with water 80% of the way.
- Add more salt or sugar to taste. Keep in mind it will taste saltier as it ferments. We added an additional ½ Tbsp of salt and ½ Tbsp sugar to suit our taste.
- Leave out at room temperature for one day until fermentation begins and then refrigerate. It will taste slightly sour.
- You can add Asian pear to add sweetness, but my mom doesn’t like how it gets mushy.
- You can refrigerate it right away if you want it to ferment slow and last the longest or you can leave it out at room temperature longer if you want it to ferment more. Usually, when we leave it out for one day and refrigerate, it takes 2-3 days in the fridge for it to taste the way I like.
- The water kimchi never “goes bad”, it’s just a matter of whether it’s too sour for your palate.
- Mom called the flour-water mixture glue in Korean because that’s how they used to make glue back in the day.
- Daikon radish or Western radish for Korean radish. Daikon radish will be the closest but it’s still not as strong in flavor as the Korean radish, which has a hint of spice.
- My mom usually prefers using organic cane sugar, but she opted for regular granulated sugar so that it doesn’t turn the broth brown.
- You can also substitute flour instead of sweet rice flour, but we always prefer the sweet rice flour.
- I like using sweet onion rather than yellow onion.
Did you try this dongchimi recipe? How did you like it? What did you add or subtract?