Food - Drink
What Makes Ponytail Kimchi Unique?
BY KATHERINE BECK
One of the most popular kimchi in South Korea, chonggak-kimchi (commonly called ponytail kimchi), is made from radishes with their tops still attached, and the green leaves are the "ponytail" in question. In addition to being called chonggak kimchi, it's also called altari mu kimchi, reflecting the other name for the radish, "altiari."
The chonggak radish is about 4 inches long with a firm texture, contrasting with its soft, leafy greens, and the kimchi made from it also has crisp and tender textures. Beyond Kimchee describes the flavor of chonggak kimchi as rich, and it's not very spicy and bitter like other types, especially after being fermented for a few days.
Only a handful of classic Korean ingredients are needed to make ponytail kimchi: chonggak mu radishes, kosher salt, onion, garlic, flour, sugar, fish sauce, green onions, and Korean hot pepper flakes. Crazy Korean Cooking says that sweet rice flour is best and suggests shrimp fish sauce instead of fish sauce, but either sauce will work.
To make ponytail kimchi, clean and prep the radishes by leaving them in salt for about 2 to 4 hours, make a glutinous sweet rice paste, and season the radishes. To ferment, store the kimchi in a jar at room temperature for a couple of days, keeping it moist by taking some of the juice from the bottom of the container and adding it to the top.
While ponytail kimchi complements any meal, it pairs especially well with soups and stews, like beef soups and radish soups for a double hit of radish. Ponytail kimchi is often served whole, with the diner biting off pieces of the radish, but it can also be cut into pieces before being placed in a bowl and served alongside steak and rice.