That’s right! This post is for two – count ’em – two pineapple kimchi recipes. The cubed pineapple kimchi (kkakdugi) is so delicious, you’ll be lucky if you can resist eating it all before the blending stage to make it an epic sauce.
Kkakdugi normally is the cubed, firm & crunchy Korean radish kimchi you’ve probably had or seen before. This isn’t the first time I’ve made other versions, including a mango recipe I really enjoy.
Like the mango, I recommend using a firm fruit, potentially a bit underripe. The salting and fermenting process is going to soften it up and the pineapple will normally sweeten up as it ripens continues to ripen, even during fermentation which involves the conversion of its sugar into acids and CO2.
Although you might enjoy this fermented for a long period to get a more sour kimchi, it also has the ability to get a little boozy given the large amount of sugars present in most pineapples, so this is something you may want to play by ear. In my own experience, I like kimchi pineapple refrigerated after around 5-6 days, but if converting to sauce I may try to hold out for longer for a lower pH. Since the pH may not have yet gotten much below the sought after pH 4.6 “acidic foods” classification by 5-6 days, let alone below the more ideal 4.0 mark, the sauce recipe involves adding some vinegar and other acids at the time of blending and cooking the sauce.
What to do with the sauce? It’s amazing on burgers, wings, ribs, stir fries & noodles, in soup, and in (or as) dressing or marinade. It’s really a remarkable (and so easy!) sauce, but I think it is the absolute best as a pizza sauce (whether as the base sauce or as a topper to regular pizza)!
Quick side note: if you’re planning on throwing away the peels and core, why not try making this tasty fermented tepache mojito with them, to go along with whatever meal you’re planning?
First we’ll start with the kimchi recipe and further below you’ll find the optional next steps to blend it into sauce. This is for a quart jar of kkakdugi, which makes around 20 oz. of sauce. If you want more, just double the ingredients and use a half-gallon jar for fermenting.
You will need:
- Quart jar
- Knife & cutting board
- Medium/large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Kitchen gloves (for handling hot peppers)
- Strainer or colander & container to catch the brine
- Recommended: canning funnel & plastic wrap
- Recommended: airlock lid
- If making hot sauce: blender; medium saucepan & wooden spoon; sauce funnel; sauce bottles
- 5 lbs. pineapple (gross weight; this is around one large or two small pineapples); then remove top, peel, core, and cube into 3/4″ or 1″ pieces
- 1 TBSP additive free salt (or 2.5% of net weight of cubed pineapple)
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled & halved
- 1 small nub ginger (~7-8g), cut into a few slices
- 3 green onions, cut into 1/2″ slices
- 1 TBSP fish sauce (or alternatives like organic soy sauce or liquid aminos)
- Gochugaru powder (around 1/3 cup)
- Optional: Added hot peppers or red chili flake as desired (gochugaru powder alone won’t make a very hot sauce)
- Optional: if you’re just making the kimchi (not blending into sauce), you may garnish with roasted sesame seeds, before or after fermentation
- If making hot sauce sauce: 1/3 cup white vinegar & 1/4 cup pineapple juice (can substitute juice with more vinegar if needed)
1.) Prepare the pineapple as described, then place in the mixing bowl and evenly coat with the salt. Allow to sit out for 1.5 – 2 hours. (Covering the bowl with plastic wrap is recommended.)
2.) After sufficient time has passed, much of the pineapple’s juice will have accumulated in the bowl. Strain out the brine (probably around 1/3 cup of salty pineapple juice will form) and measure it by volume. Use an equal amount of gochugaru powder. Place both the “brine” and gochugaru, in the blender. Add the garlic, ginger, fish sauce (or alternatives), and any optional hot peppers. Blend until a smooth paste has formed.
3.) Add the paste to the pineapple cubes. Cut up and add the green onions as well. Wearing gloves, mix the paste thoroughly and evenly with the pineapple.
4.) Using the canning funnel, transfer the pineapple cubes to the jar, add airlock lid and seal. Ferment for 4-6 days (recommended). If you like, you can try a sample after several days and see if you’ve achieved the amount of fermentation desired.
After the allotted time, transfer to fridge or start eating!
Pineapple kimchi hot sauce:
1.) Place the fermented pineapple kimchi and all the sauce into the blender. Blend on high for a minute, along with the added vinegar and pineapple juice.
2.) Transfer sauce to saucepan and completely rinse out the blender. (You will use the blender again and don’t want living bacteria to remain in it, which can restart the ferment if it makes contact with the cooked sauce.)
3.) Heat the sauce on high and stir until boiling. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4.) After the allotted time, bring sauce back to the clean blender and blend on high for 4-5 minutes, pulsing periodically.
5.) Using the sauce funnel as needed, transfer the sauce to a container or sauce bottles. (At minimum these should be very clean from hot water or dishwasher, if not a full sanitizing.)
Enjoy the sauce and let us know what you think!