amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Watermelon radish soup

POSTED ON October 2, 2015

watermelon radish soup 3

Get ready because this soup is outstanding! It not only looks stunningly beautiful, but it’s also deeply nourishing and surprisingly simple to make!

The recipe is from Heidi Swanson’s latest book Near and Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, which is a truly stunning and thoughtful book. The recipes, photos and overall tone of Near and Far captured me right from the start. I love the way it’s divided into countries with a pantry list for each place and photos that depict the mood and inspire one to create. There are so many recipes I want to try; here are a few to give you a sense of what creative deliciousness the book beholds: Fennel Stew with (my favorite) corona beans, saffron (lemon and olives); Spicy Green Soup with Serrano chili, herbs, ginger and almonds (Yum!); and, Turmeric Miso Soup with black pepper, garlic and olive oil. Plus there are many great drink ideas: Verde Gin & Tonic with coriander, fennel and dill; Pimm’s cup with green coriander seeds, cucumber and ginger beer; and, Lillet Shrub with white wine vinegar, frozen cherries and Byrrh (a French aperitif). Oh, and if I had a rose bush, I’d make the Quick Pickled Rose Petals!

This recipe came from the Japan section of the book, which fast became my favorite with its clean, healing flavors combined with new and inspiring ideas. Making a vibrant pink broth from watermelon radish is a brilliant idea; the flavor reminds me of the daikon broths I used to eat when working in a Japanese restaurant. It is light, soothing and head clearing with a more-ish flavor. Watermelon radishes share the same sharp radish taste as daikon and stand up just as well to cooking, when they soften and sweeten. I would happily drink this invigorating broth everyday. Congratulations on such a beautiful book Heidi!

If you’ve cooked from this book I’d love to hear what you made!

Amy x


watermelon radish soup

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watermelon radish soup 2


Watermelon Radish Soup

As Heidi says in her head note for this recipe; “this soup is all about the broth. And if you hit the mark, it should make you glow from the inside” Heidi suggests 3 ½ tablespoons of ginger juice, I started with half and found it strong enough, so adjust to taste. To make ginger juice: grate fresh, unpeeled ginger, place in the palm of your hand (or a fine-mesh strainer), squeeze out juice and measure.

Recipe from Near & Far, Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, by Heidi Swanson, Ten Speed Press 2015

Serves 4


1 pound/455 g silken tofu

6 cups/1.5 L water

2 cups/8 oz/225 g watermelon radish, peeled and cut into ¼-inch/6mm dice, plus more, thinly sliced, to serve

5 large kale leaves (or equivalent quantity of nettles), stemmed and finely chopped

3 ½ tablespoons fresh ginger juice

1 ½ teaspoons fine-grain sea salt

6 green onions, thinly sliced

Black sesame seeds, to serve


Fashion a double boiler using a stainless steel bowl placed over a smaller saucepan of simmering water. Gently place the tofu in the stainless steel bowl, cover, and heat through while you’re working through the rest of the recipe. You want the tofu to be warm when it is combined with the hot broth later in the process.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a simmer. Add the watermelon radish and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the kale, ginger juice, and salt and continue to simmer for a couple of minutes more.

To serve, spoon a bit of warm silken tofu into each bowl. Ladle in the hot broth and radishes and garnish with green onions, slices of watermelon radish, and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

Variation: For a more substantial meal, serve over brown rice or soba noodles.

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