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Food as Medicine: Winter Radish

Chances are, when you think of radishes, the first thing you think of isn't a warm, nourishing soup on a cold winter day. More likely, you think of radishes raw or shaved into a salad. However you think of radishes, we're going to bet you don't know the full list of health benefits these (sometimes tiny!) vegetables can pack. In addition to their various vitamins and minerals, radishes have long been used in "Unani, Greeko-Arab, and Indian folk medicine, ... as a household remedy for the treatment of many diseases such as jaundice, gallstone, liver diseases, rectal prolapse, indigestion, and other gastric pains". More recently, research shows that radishes also have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, plus they may have the potential to lower cholesterol.

Without further ado, read on for a delicious and traditional Chinese soup recipe with radish. If you need added inspiration, please check out this Chinese cooking video.


Pork Rib Soup with Radish (Pai Gu Luo Bo Tang)


  • 1/2 pound baby back ribs, cut into 1" pieces

  • daikon or watermelon radishes (1 pound), washed and cut into 1" chunks

  • 3 slices ginger

  • 1/2 C goji berries (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese vinegar

  • 1/2 C Chinese cooking sherry

  • 4 C Herbal Bone Broth

  • salt to taste

  • a touch of white pepper to taste

  • 2 green onions, sliced on the bias for garnish


  1. Cover the pork with cold water in a large stock pot, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Cook for a few minutes till the pork ribs have changed color. Once the color has changed, discard the water, and rinse under running water.

  3. Drain the ribs well and set aside.

  4. In a ceramic pot or a Dutch oven, add the rinsed and drained pork ribs, cooking sherry, radish, ginger and bone broth.

  5. Turn to high heat and bring to a boil.

  6. Once boiling, lower to a low heat and simmer for 35 minutes with lid on.

  7. Season with Chinese vinegar, salt and white pepper to taste, stir and mix well.

  8. Add goji berries (if desired) and simmer for another 5 minutes.

  9. Remove from heat and portion into bowls.

  10. Garnish with sliced green onion to serve.


  1. You may substitute pork belly for the pork ribs. It will have a similar flavor, however, as pork belly has more fat, it will make your soup more oily so you may need to skim some oil off.

  2. If you do use ribs, you can ask the butcher in your grocery store to cut the ribs into smaller pieces if you don't think you'll be able to do so at home!



  1. Banihani S. A. (2017). Radish (Raphanus sativus) and Diabetes. Nutrients, 9(9), 1014.

  2. Shukla S., Chatterji S., Mehta S., Rai P.K., Singh R.K., Yadav D.K., Watal G. Antidiabetic effect of raphanus sativus root juice. Pharm. Biol. 2011;49:32–37.

  3. Jeong S.I., Lee S., Kim K.J., Keum K.S., Choo Y.K., Choi B.K., Jung K.Y. Methylisogermabullone isolated from radish roots stimulates small bowel motility via activation of acetylcholinergic receptors. J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2005;57:1653–1659.

  4. Kim K.H., Moon E., Kim S.Y., Choi S.U., Lee J.H., Lee K.R. 4-Methylthio-butanyl derivatives from the seeds of Raphanus sativus and their biological evaluation on anti-inflammatory and antitumor activities. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151:503–508



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