A Historical Study of Korean Traditional Radish Kimchi

한국의 무김치에 관한 역사적 고찰

  • Cho, Woo-Kyoun (Department of Food and Nutrition, Gachon University of Medicine and Science)
  • 조우균 (가천의과학대학교 식품영양학과)
  • Received : 2010.08.12
  • Accepted : 2010.08.19
  • Published : 2010.08.30


Radish kimchi is a typical side-dish in Korean traditional food and is a way of keeping vegetables for a extended period using fermentation. This study examined the classification, usage, eating history, variety, and recipes of Korean radish kimchi through ancient and modern era literature. The Korean radish kimchi were categorized into six groups: kkakttugi, seokbakji (or nabakkimchi), dongchimi, jjanji, jangachi, and jangkwa. According to the record, the eating history of radish kimchi comes from before the age of the Three Kingdom period. Radish was preserved in salt, vinegar, soybean paste or lees of fermented liquor in the early times. This pickled radish was not supposed to be watery. Radish kimchi was divided into watery kimchi (dongchimi) during the period of United Silla and the Koryo Dynasty. Kimchi was mixed with Chinese cabbage to make seokbakji or nabakkimchi. Up to the early Chosun Dynasty, the key ingredient of kimchi was radish. After the middle of the Chosun Dynasty, kimchi was mixed with red pepper powder, salted fish, soybean sauce, and various ingredients. There were many kinds of radish kimchi during the late Chosun Dynasty. In the 11 Korean recipe books published within the past 100 years, there are nine kinds of kkakttugi, three kinds of seokbakji, four kinds of dongchimi, three kinds of jjanji, nine kinds of jangachi, and five kinds of jangkwa. Kkakttugi (cubed, sliced or julienne radish) was pickled with salt, red pepper powder, garlic, green onion, oyster, sugar, salted fish, and more. Seokbakji and nabakkimchi were not as salty, so they could not be preserved as long. Dongchimi (watery radish kimchi without red pepper powder) was made of radish, water, salt, 18 side ingredients, 13 condiments, and seven garnishes. Jjanji was pickled to be very salty and was eaten during summer. Jangachi can be used as a regular side dish and is made of radish or dried radish slices pickled or seasoned with salt, soy sauce, vinegar, soybean paste, lees of fermented liquor, and spices. Jangkwa is used as a stir-fry method and has been segregated from jangachi relatively recently.


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