Radishes in Chile Oil Sauce | Qiang luo bo

Radishes in Chile Oil Sauce Recipe

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 a recipe for home cooking, Ji ben jia chang cai (Basic Domestic Dishes).–Fuchsia Dunlop

LC Agggggrrrrression Tamer Note

Radishes doused with authentic Szechuan chile oil? Seems destined to be a guaranteed conversation starter. It also seems destined, surprisingly, to be a guaranteed aggression releaser. You’ll understand as soon as you read the first step of the instructions.

Radishes in Chile Oil Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 bunches small red radishes, trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chile Oil, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  • 1. Lightly smack the radishes with the side of a cleaver or a rolling pin. (The idea is to crack them open, not to smash them to smithereens.)
  • 2. Pile the cracked radishes in a bowl, add the salt, and toss well. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  • 3. Combine the sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chile and sesame oils.
  • 4. When you’re ready to eat, drain the radishes—they will have released a fair amount of water—and shake them dry. Pour the chile oil mixture over the radishes and toss to mix well. That’s it. Really. You can go ahead and serve them now.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Feb 19, 2013

These are amazing. I could hardly stop eating them. Hubby loves Korean food. The first thing he said was “This has sesame oil in it, and it’s great.” I found some wonderfully fresh, smallish radishes with the tops still on them. This recipe makes a great appetizer and a nice snack as well. I’d even consider serving it as a side dish with an Asian-themed meal. I think you could easily serve 4 or 5 as an appetizer.

Testers Choice
Sita Krishnaswamy

Feb 19, 2013

A great condiment to serve alongside meats, or add to a pita pocket, or just set out as appetizers. I used about 16 small red radishes (2 bunches) and it served about 6 people.

Testers Choice
Anna Scott

Feb 19, 2013

What a unique recipe for crisp, peppery radishes. I’m a huge fan of radishes, whether raw, roasted, pickled—any way really—and I was intrigued to make this simple Chinese version. The mix of sesame oil, chile oil, soy sauce, and sugar is delectable. I would use this in my next stir-fry or even as a vinaigrette on a tender leaf salad. Maybe even on shredded cabbage and daikon radishes for a coleslaw base? Back to the radish recipe–how ingenious to smack the radishes so they absorb more of the delicious oil mixture. (I used a meat cleaver–a rolling pin split the radishes into pieces.) This recipe served about 4 people as an appetizer alongside crostini and a log of goat cheese. Not Asian, I know…but the creaminess of the cheese on the crisp bread was a nice counterpoint to the extremely flavorful radishes. It was so good to be able to dip the bread in the leftover sauce on the plate as well. I really loved this recipe and the wonderful chili oil leftovers it made!

  1. I love radishes and it is good to finally see recipes for them. My faves are the white icicles and this would probably work for those, too. Thanks!

  2. The smashing technique reminds me of the way we make marinated cucumbers with a similar sauce.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Oooooh, Dessert by Candy, we need more details, please….

      • Vegetable such as radishes and cucumbers both have smooth surfaces. By smashing them with the side of a cleaver instead of making neat cuts, you can create much more irregular surface area for sauce to cling on to. For cucumbers, I usually cut baby cucumbers or English cucumbers into 3-inch pieces and then smash them.

  3. teresa sardina says:

    making these tomorrow night.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      teresa, terrific! we’ll be looking for your comment reporting on what you thought….

  4. Lisa says:

    How long would these keep in the fridge?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Lisa, I’d suggest keeping them for no more than a day or two, as I fear the taste and texture will suffer beyond that. We’d asked our recipe testers how long they kept them in the fridge, but they disappeared too quickly for anyone to give us a good estimate!

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