Turnip and fennel kimchi

Or I should learn to differentiate between swede, turnip and radish. Really. 

Edit!!! Thanks to Kathryn and ganga, the purpple vegie is identified as TURNIP. :) thanks guys. These vegies are so confusing for me. xoxo


For a few weeks now, my parents in law have moved in with us. Upon hearing the news, all my friends responded in surprise and quickly pointed to the golden rule #1 of happy family life, Vietnamese edition: Avoid living with parents in law with all cost. Of course, they also told me tons of horror stories of daughter-mother-in-law relationship, where the (often new) bride ended up in tears and sorrow.

I guess that might be true in some cases, not mine. The thing is, my parents in law are really amusing (oops, is it even the right word?) to live with. I have never lived with so many people before. It is fun. Like my sister mentions, there are like 4 different languages spoken at my home now. We also have a lot of similarities and differences in lifestyles. A mixed bag, and thankfully a fun one.

I get on well with my MIL. She hates cooking, I love it. I hate cleaning up and organising things, she loves it. I cannot sew, she´s a master. I like pretty flowers while she collects weird-looking succulents. But there are two main things that hook us: both of us love Mr. B (obviously) and she loves my cooking. I tell you, that solves a lot of problems.


With my MIL around, I have someone who shares my fondness of kimchi with. I know it sounds pathetic but no one in my family loves kimchi. My sister won´t go near it, while mr. B only eats it when being forced. My father in law only likes curries. But I and my MIL loves kimchi. *hi5*

So, finally, I can make kimchi at home. I go a bit untraditional in terms of vegetable mix for my first batch: turnip and fennel. (Actually I thought the purple-cream round vegetable was radish. Heh. How little did I know about my vegies!) Anyway, while the veg mix is unusual, the kimchi seasoning is quite traditional.

I am loving the result. The vegetables remain crunchy and have the right amount of sourness to them. (I call it “ripe”). And kimchi fennel? I know Kathryn and Ganga have meant to know the results of this experiment. It is awesome people. Awesome!


Obviously this kimchi recipe only appeals to those who love this kind of smelly pickles. I am absolutely fine that at the dinner table only my MIL and I are enthusiastic about it. I don´t care. I am happy to get my “kimchi fix” at home now.

Turnip and fennel kimchi

I think the great thing about making your own kimchi is you can adjust the ingredients to your liking. I am not a big fan of Chinese chives smell, so I only used a tiny bit. This recipe produces spicy-sour-crunchy kimchi, which is not overly sweet. A keeper.

Other vegs to use: turnip, daikon etc.

2 turnips
1 fennel
A handful of Chinese chives (to taste – more if u like/can tolerate the smell) – sliced

For the kimchi seasoning – adapted from “authentic recipes from Korea”

4 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
1 ½ cup water
3 tbps garlic paste
3 tbps ginger paste
4 tbp fish sauce (* i heard traditionally fermented shrimp is used*)
10 tbp ground pepper (don´t worry, it´s not that hot)
½ tbp sugar


Skin the turnip and cut into i-inch cubes. Do the same thing with the fennel. Add 1 tbp sea salt to the vegie mixture, stir to combine and leave for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the kimchi seasoning. Basically, put flour and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until the paste thickens. Cool then combine with garlic, ginger paste, fish sauce, sugar and ground pepper.

Rinse the vegie under running cold water. Drain well. Wearing food-grade glove, carefully mix the kimchi seasoning with the vegie mixture together with the chopped chives. Make sure the paste coat the vegies nicely.

Place the mixture in an air-tight container. Leave in a cold dark place overnight and store in the fridge. The kimchi is ready to use when it turns sour. (I left mine outside for 2 nights).

Kimchi - the making
                   Photo: kimchi – the making

36 Responses to Turnip and fennel kimchi

  1. thang @ noodlies says:

    Yum, I love this type of Kim Chi!

  2. Lick My Spoon says:

    Beautiful pictures Anh….I lived with my in laws for 2 years…never fought once! They are a godsend :)I'm afraid I have never tasted kimchi even though it's a current rage- so can't comment on the recipe!

  3. Shulie says:

    Love this Anh. Ah-mazing job. We all love fennel and turnips, hmm..I didn't know you call it Swede. I actually thought you gonna pickle a real Swede. I was getting bored with my recipes and always wanted to make kimchi but cabbage is obvious and I was looking for original recipes for fennel & turnips. So yay! Thank you! On the matter on the MIL as I am reading it I still can believe it.

  4. Phuoc'n Delicious says:

    LOL I wish you all the luck though! And commemorate your bravery for living with the in laws! But it's good that you can now make and enjoy kimchi with someone – I don't know how anyone could not love it. I think your sister is weird… lol

  5. leaf (the indolent cook) says:

    Ooh looks good! I love that you mistook swede for radish… sounds like the kind of thing I would do! ;D

  6. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    It sounds like having your in-laws living with you is the perfect match. So glad that it's working and that you have a kimchi buddy now. I've got Kimchi on my to-try list. I'm going to make a lacto-fermented version.

  7. Shirley @ Kokken69 says:

    I am glad that you and your MIL are so compatible. For me, I think I value my space and privacy too much to share it with extended families for too long :)

  8. Little Corner of Mine says:

    Haha, glad you got your kimchi fix! Luckily swede turned out well too.

  9. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    That is fabulous! A kimchi I'd love to try.

  10. Soma says:

    This was a fun read:) My in laws are real nice people too:)

  11. Ganga says:

    It looks wonderful, Anh.I am going to confuse you even more. I think your veg might be a turnip? Swedes have yellow flesh, and turnips have white flesh. Its all so confusing -radishes, swedes, turnips…..

  12. Juliana says:

    I like kimchi, but haven't had fennel…looks very tasty. Hope you are having a great week :-)

  13. kathryn says:

    Oh you posted your kimchi recipe, how wonderful. Looks fabulous too and I'm thinking the fennel would be brilliant in kimchi.

  14. Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy says:

    I was smiling and nodding after each line in your post :) My MIL is so much like yours.And that golden rule had me on rolling on floor- I guess thats the golden rule everywhere in the world?
    What pretty lightning in pictures.I m noticing it in your past few pictures.Looks gorgeous.

  15. Kankana says:

    I have never seen a turnip look that gorgeous .. love your clicks .. the blue background is so perfectly captured.

  16. Johanna GGG says:

    kimchi is still a mystery to me – I've never been so big on pickles but have appreciated them more as I got older so maybe one day I will try it. I confess I stick with the scottish way and call swedes "turnips" and mostly ignore the purple and white turnips. But I don't wonder that turnips confuse you – strange things!

  17. shaz says:

    You are truly lucky Anh to get on so well with your in-laws :) No one else likes kimchi at my place either, so I don't bother to make it, just buy the oversized tubs they sell and try to finish as much as I can before it goes off, he he. This one looks delicious, especially with the turnip.

  18. chopinandmysaucepan says:

    Love the crunch of these root vegetables and the colours are so vibrant!

  19. Hannah says:

    I've been obsessed with eating raw turnip lately, but considering my love for all things spicy and pickled, I clearly need to make this instead :)

  20. Kitchen Flavours says:

    Kimchi….love that name given….recipe looks simple and delectable…..

  21. Von says:

    Your home sounds like an awesome place to be at! 😀 My grandparents lived with us for a while (a very long time ago) and it wasn't exactly the best experience we'd ever had….haha :) I don't particularly like kimchi but I don't really mind it- yours looks delicious though!

  22. Jen (Tastes of Home) says:

    How nice to share such a fun relationship with your MIL! I hope my future one (if there's one lol) will be alright too though the horror stories seem more common.

  23. Yasmin says:

    This looks very appetising!

  24. Janine says:

    Your pictures look amazing, as always! You made the turnip look gorgeous – and I also don't know how to tell turnips and other root veggies apart since by the time I see them, they're usually cooked and look the same. BUT I am able to tell them apart by taste lol ;p

  25. Faith says:

    I love your choice of veggies here, Anh…and I'm sure it was absolutely delicious!

  26. Amy @ ElephantEats says:

    Mmmmm, I love kimchi! The stinkier the better 😉 And radish is my favorite…this looks so good!!!

  27. Carolyn Jung says:

    I love fennel, so I am a total fan of your modern, unconventional kimchi. Can't wait to see what others you come up with. Yum!

  28. Nami @ Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Anh! Thank you for visiting my site and I'm happy to find yours. Really beautiful photos and I like your writing style. I did enjoy reading about your relationship with your MIL feeling a little bit envious. Not that I'm saying I don't get along with my MIL, but I just can't imagine living together as both of us are pretty stubborn in a sense? Now I'm looking forward to

  29. pickyin @ LifeIsGreat says:

    When the mother of my other half is around, she cooks her Indian food and I just gobble down the curries and dosas. Sometimes I would cook something Chinese for her. The last time she was here for a week, I think I put on 2 kgs.

  30. Jennifer (Delicieux) says:

    Sounds like you have an absolutely wonderful relationship with your mother in law. I've certainly heard my share of horror stories, so it's great when Mother and Daughter-in-laws get along.

  31. WizzyTheStick says:

    There is an upside to living with parents with all the help you get. Kimichi looks like something I'd love but unfortunately we don't get turnips here.

  32. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    I'm so glad you get along so well with your MIL. I have heard the horror stories as well =). And I love kimchi too! I've only made the cabbage one at home but am planning to branch out soon!

  33. Gattina Cheung says:

    smelly? no way! love love love!!! I don't up much turnip much, surely I have missed something good after seeing your wonderful creation!

  34. SavoringTime in the Kitchen says:

    I have never had kimchi but I do love all root vegetables and the ingredients sound wonderful!

  35. tigerfish says:

    Sounds like perfect team work over there :p

  36. Mike Stamets says:

    Anh, I’m going to try this delish sounding kimchi recipe. I think I’ll also add a tablespoon of Japanese wakame seaweed! Root vegetables can be a lot of fun. Celery root and turnip kimchi comes to mind…but my wife wants some Brussels Sprout kimchi first…so as always I do what I’m told in the kitchen! Swedes: Swede=Rutabaga. Turnip=Turnip. Radish=Daikon, Radish, and many other varieties, and is very similar to a Rampion, which is also called a Rapunzel. Turnips are usually white inside. Swedes are usually an orange or yellow color inside. Swedes are usually much larger than Turnips.

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