Chayote belongs to the gourd family and is a vegetable native to Mexico and Central America. It’s not a usual Korean cooking ingredient, but I found that it works very well as a substitute for Korean radish when making kkakdugi (Cubed radish kimchi)style kimchi. Koreans say there are almost two hundreds kinds of kimchi, but today I’m adding 1 more! So far nobody has ever posted a kimchi recipe made with chayote!
This chayote kimchi is crispy, spicy, and refreshing, and is a great side dish for rice and soups like my recent oxtail soup, or soybean sprouts soup. But you can serve it on the side with anything, and eat it as you would a pickle.
I love Korean kkakdugi, but this chayote kimchi is becoming my new favorite and I make it all the time. It’s just as crispy, crunchy, and tangy as kkakdugi, but the chayote is a little sweet like a firm melon, and as it ferments it never goes soggy and always crispy.
I’m not a nutritionist but I’ve since come to learn that chayote is a healthy food that contains many essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, many antioxidants, is low in calories, fat, sodium, and carbs, and is good for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor blood flow, and even fighting cancer. It’s good for you, and when you make kimchi from it you also get all the probiotic benefits as well. Plus, it’s delicious!
- 3 pounds deseeded chayotes (4 large chayotes)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon peeled ginger
- ⅓ cup worth onion
- ¼ cup fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 4 green onions, sliced diagonally
- ½ cup gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
- Cut a chayote in half lengthwise and remove the inner seed. Slice each half into ½ inch thick pieces lengthwise and then cut each piece crosswise into roughly ½ inch cubes. Transfer the cubes to a large bowl. Repeat with the rest of chayotes.
- Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt and mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes, turning it over every 10 minutes to salt evenly.
- Pour out the excess brine to a blender. Add garlic, ginger, onion, and fish sauce (or soy sauce). Blend 1 minute until soft and creamy.
- Add the mixture to the chayote chunks. Add gochu-garu (Korean hot pepper flakes), green onion, and mix all together by hand. You can wear a disposable glove if desired. Transfer it to a jar or an airtight container. Press down the top of the kimchi and cover.
- You can serve it right away with rice. If you like to ferment your kimchi faster, you can keep it outside the fridge. Usually it will take a few days to ferment at room temperature, but if you live in a warm country it may only take 1 day because of the higher temperatures. When the kimchi is fermented, it tastes sour. Be sure to store it in the fridge and enjoy it until it runs out.
From the top, chayote kimchi, spinach side dish, fish skin chips (The recipe will come in the future), and Korean style curry rice.