Spicy Red Radish and Watermelon Salad, Thai Style

Thai Watermelon and Red Radish Salad

Radishes have been called the Unsung Hero of the Vegetable world. This year I began growing them in my newly formed vegetable patch. Easy and quick to grow, they are featuring more and more in my dishes. They add spice, texture and colour.

Radishes come in a range of colours – white, red, green, purple or black (or anything in between); they can be round, oval or long, big or small, and taste anywhere from mild to peppery. They are versatile vegetables that can be eaten raw or cooked.

Here they are paired with watermelon, a fruit of summer that I love to use in salads, as well as drinking its juice, or simply eat on very hot days, in the garden, spitting its seeds, Australian Style, into the garden (and then they appear next year as seedlings!).

We have a collection of Watermelon Salads for you to explore – we brought together all our favourite salads in one post. Or perhaps try these recipes: Watermelon, Apple and Lemongrass Salad, Watermelon Salad with Mint and Olives, Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, Watermelon and Peach Salad with Basil, and Haloumi and Watermelon Salad.

You might also like these Radish dishes: Mung Sprout, Edamame and Radish Salad, Radish Salad with Soy and Sesame, Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, Spicy Radish Salad with Coconut Milk, or Jicama, Red Radish and Green Mango Salad.

Also try Raw Vegetable Salad with Mustardy Mayo Dressing.

Browse our Watermelon Salads, all of the other Watermelon recipes, our Radish Salads, and all of our other Radish Recipes. Check out our many Salad recipes, or our S. E. Asian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

I have recently began to grow phakkaawtong – the Thai name of a herb commonly called Fish Smelling Herb because of its “earthy” smell and taste. In English it is variously known as In English, it is known as fish mint, heartleaf, fishwort, and, incorrectly, as bishop’s weed. It is commonly eaten raw in herb noodle salads and fresh vegetable spring rolls. I have started to use it in salads in place of fish sauce, and it does go some way to providing that taste peculiar to S. E. Asian food that is usually provided by fish sauce. It is a continuing experiment with this herb to find uses that suit us, but it is exciting to have this pretty little herb growing in its pot (it grows so easily that it can take over a whole garden if placed in the ground).

The Fish Smelling Herb is also used in India, although I have yet to come across recipes that use it. Wikipedea has some information: In N. E. India, particularly Meghalaya, it is locally known as ja myrdoh and used in salads or cooked with vegetables. In Manipur, it is known as toningkok and used as garnish. In Garo, it is known as matcha duri, the leaves used raw as salad leaf, or ground (usually the tender roots) with chillies and tamarind into chutneys. In Assam it is called Masunduri and popular mostly among the tribal people. There it is eaten raw as salad.


One more piece of information – in this recipe I am using a Korean watermelon – I picked it up at my local S. E. Asian grocery shop. It is a watermelon that is one of the sweetest available, and is quite glorious. However you can use your local variety of watermelon without any problems.

Korean Watermelon


Spicy Red Radish and Watermelon Salad, Thai Style

4 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded and cut into approx 2.5cm cubes
6 red round or oval radishes, finely sliced
3 – 4 spring onions (scallions), sliced
0.5 – 1 green chilli, finely chopped (or to taste)
0.5 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
0.25 cup Thai Basil leaves, torn if large
3 or 4 leaves of “fish smelling herb”, shredded (optional)
sea salt to taste

2 – 3 Tblspn lime juice
0.5 tspn sambal oelek, chilli jam or other Asian Chilli sauce/paste (or to taste – different chilli pastes will have different heat levels. Best to start with a little and add more if needed.)
1 tspn finely grated fresh ginger

Make the dressing by whisking 1 Tblspn lime juice, the sambal oelek and ginger together with a tiny amount of salt. Place into a large bowl.

Add the watermelon cubes, radish slices, spring onions and green chillies and toss. Gently fold in the mint and basil.

Taste and adjust lime juice if necessary. Serve immediately.

Thai Watermelon and Red Radish Salad

recipe notes and alternatives
I like this salad very herby and tend to use a lot of the herbs.

This makes a good basic recipe. You can swap out the watermelon for mango if you like, or add some shredded green mango with the watermelon.

Add coriander leaves if you like.

It is also nice if a paste is made with the ginger, sambal oelek, mint and lime juice and used as the dressing.


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