Yellow Kkakdugi (Radish-Cube Kimchi with Star-Fruit & Pineapple)


Not to toot my own horn, but I don’t think I’e ever seen kkakdugi that wasn’t red or white (meaning no red pepper powder added). So, welcome to the revolution!

This is the third (but believe it or not, not my final) installment of my color-kimchi series. Here are the links for the green and orange. Although the flavor profiles of these are all unique, one thing separating the yellow from the others is that I made it in a kkakdugi style (using cubed radish as the main ingredient rather than Napa cabbage). The fact is, any of these recipes can swap out one main kimchi vegetable for another.

I love radish kkakdugi. It is crunchy and delightful. Although obviously I am insane about all kimchi, I happen to have a slight preference for kkakdugi over regular Napa “baechu kimchi” (what we commonly just call “kimchi”). If you’ve never had it, I’d recommend making the standard red version of kkakdugi besides this one.

This recipe is for a half gallon jar of kimchi. Well, let’s make Coldplay proud (“and it was all yellow…”) and get started, shall we?

You will need: Cutting board & knife; large non-reactive bowl; measuring cups & spoons; grater (for making zest); garlic press; kitchen gloves (recommended for handling hot peppers); 1/2 gallon mason jar and airlock lid (recommended); a fermenting weight is not required for kkakdugi but it never hurts to limit the ferment’s air exposure, if there’s room.

Note about yellow hot peppers: If you’re like me and want a spicy kimchi, you may have to go find some hot yellow peppers. Although standard grocery stores tend to just cary jalapenos and maybe Scotch bonnets (which are orange but actually could work out here), if you have a local international farmer’s market or Latin American grocery, you should be able to find some options. Hot yellow peppers like golden cayenne, Jamaican hots, yellow 7 pot, aji amarillo, tend to be very spicy so I suggest using quantities similar to that recommended for yellow habaneros (the hottest of the peppers I used) in the recipe below. This organic aji amarillo paste on Amazon could be tried if you have no other options. Unfortunately, the reviews are inconsistent but I can’t recommend another brand as those aren’t organic and contain preservatives which won’t work out in a ferment.

To make the yellow pepper powder, you will need a food dehydrator and spice (or coffee) grinder. If you don’t have these items, it may seem like a bit of an investment, but they aren’t really all that expensive and it’s pretty incredible all the different things you can make with them.


  • 3 pounds Korean radish, daikon, or Chinese radish (or a mix)
  • 1/2 or 1 whole yellow habanero, minced (~2-4g)
  • 1-2 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP non-iodized salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3-4 yellow pearl onions, halved & thin sliced (can substitute with 10-15g of yellow or white onion, thin sliced & chopped)
  • 2 starfruits thin sliced (able to substitute with any yellow fruit or veggie as desired, e.g. yellow mango; Korean melon; Asian pear )
  • 2 tsp ginger, peeled & grated
  • 100g matchstick cut pineapple (=1/2 cup loosely packed if unsure of weight)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon (~5g)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (1/2 TBSP)
  • 1/2 cup yellow “gochugaru” (pepper powder, instructions below)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) retained brine

Yellow Gochugaru:

Before you make this kimchi, you’ll need to get the gochugaru powder ready, which could be 24 hours or more in the food dehydrator. If you’ve read any of my other color kimchi recipes, you know I’ve made these color pepper powders by completely dehydrating peppers then running them through a spice grinder. The exact yellow items you put in are up to you, however it is recommended to use several yellow bell peppers as a base (or other mild peppers or produce). I considered adding apple, ginger, Asian pear, and other contenders, but finally settled on: 5 yellow peppers, 1 large yellow manzano pepper (a very hot variety with citrus notes), 1 yellow habanero (very hot), 1 large yellow banana pepper, 1 sliced starfruit, and 1 pearl onion. All peppers were sliced and the seeds removed. The resulting powder was very delicious, somewhat spicy, and I have extra to try on other things.

Here’s a look at the stages of this part of the project:

Instructions for the kimchi:

  • Peel the radish (optional but I usually do) and cut into ¾” cubes. (Wash if kept unpeeled.)
  • Place into a non-reactive (i.e. non-metal, non-porous) bowl and add the salt, coat and mix evenly (typically sugar is added at this stage also but due to the fruit ingredients none was used)
  • Set aside for an hour or more (I usually cover with plastic wrap)
  • Meanwhile, process all the other ingredients as described in the ingredients section
  • After the allotted time, strain the brine (liquid) which forms, into another container
  • Combine the cubed radish and all other ingredients, and mix thoroughly.
  • Add ½ cup of the retained radish brine. If there is less than that, use it all. If you prefer a juicier kimchi, you can add a bit of your own saltwater brine or a couple tablespoons added yellow fruit juice (e.g. apple). Remember though that the natural juices of the produce (e.g. starfruit, pineapple, ginger, etc.) are going to increase the volume of liquid during fermentation.
  • Place everything into your glass fermenting jar or other fermentation device(s). You can press down firmly but I avoid crushing anything as it can soften the texture that way. Place the airlock lid on and wait the desired time.

Fermentation length: 

As I’ve said with other kimchis I’ve made incorporating fruit components, the sugars will be converted over time to lactic acid and CO2. So while you may expect this to be a sweet, fruity kimchi, the longer you wait, the more the flavor is going to change. For many fermenters, this is part of the fun and interest. If you do want that fairly sweet, fruity flavor to come through, a short ferment of just 3-5 days will do nicely. My normal kkakdugi is normally fermented from 10 days to a couple weeks, sometimes longer. In my own case, I fermented this yellow kkakdugi for a week and it sat for a few more weeks in my fridge. I tasted it here and there during that time and enjoyed it more after a few weeks. (In the middle stages there was a bit of a sulphuric smell, which does happen with certain ferments, that eventually will resolve itself. However, it never tasted like that.)

This fruit-laden kimchi packs a surprisingly hot, bright, sour punch

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