The radish is sweet with a potent flavour. Slightly cool in nature, it can eliminate heat accumulated in the body. In the Compendium of Materia Medica, it’s recorded that radishes can “generate a lot of qi, digest grains, neutralize the stomach, and get rid of bad heat. Because of its cold nature, radishes should not be eaten a lot in winter, but if stewed together with warm lamb and ginger into a delicious hot soup, the coldness can be neutralized, and it can become a delicious nourishing dish.”
Sun Simiao, known as the King of Medicine, once used lamb and radish as the main ingredients of a soup and described the effect of this recipe as strengthening the body. In ancient books such as Mountain Home Light Diet and Food Therapy Worth a Thousand Gold, there are also records of using radish in different recipes.
Radish and Lamb Soup (serves four):
2 pieces ribeye lamb chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
600g white radish, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 bay leaves
2 pieces aged and dried tangerine peel
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
A few cilantro leaves, chopped
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok, add lamb chops, and fry on medium heat until the sides are slightly yellow.
Add 2.5 litres of boiling water to the wok, plus the tsaoko, bay leaves, dried tangerine peel (found in an Asian supermarket), white pepper, salt, and five-spice powder.
Bring to a boil over high heat, cover the wok, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Add the radishes and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and remove lid; garnish with chopped cilantro to taste.