This is a beautiful and stunningly simple dish to rouse the appetite at the start of a meal. Small red radishes are not a traditional Chinese vegetable, but a recent import. This recipe is based on one from a book of simple recipes for home cooking, Ji ben jia chang cai (shu cai pian), or basic domestic dishes.




Skill level

Average: 4.5 (6 votes)


  • 2 bunches small red radishes
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chilli oil with its sediment
  • ½ tsp sesame oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time 30 minutes

Top and tail the radishes. Smack them lightly with the side of a cleaver or a rolling pin; the idea is to crack them open, not smash them to bits.

Add the salt and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Combine the sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add the chilli and sesame oils.

When you are ready to eat, drain the radishes (which will have released a fair amount of water) and shake them dry. Pour over the prepared sauce, mix well and serve.


Recipe from Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop, with photographs by Chris Terry. Published by Bloomsbury.