Yen Can Cook ~ Watercress Soup

Watercress soup 西洋菜汤, my mom has been preparing this soup quite frequently for us since I was a kid. It is a simple and nutritious soup that is packed with antioxidants. This soup is known to have cooling properties which is good to cool down our bodies in hot weathers.

Watercress is an aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial herb which is commonly found in cold, alkaline waters of springs, spring runs, and streams. It is botanically related to mustard, radish, and wasabi—all noteworthy for their piquant flavor. Watercress has a dark green color with round leaves, crunchy stems with a bitter and slightly peppery taste.  Watercress will take on a dull green color after cooking in soup but the bitter peppery taste of is mellowed to earthy and sweet from slow simmering over the stove.

This soup is usually boiled with pork ribs but I’m using chicken drumsticks because those were what I had in my fridge when I preparing this soup. 😛


Ingredients (Serve: 3-4)

1 bunch of watercress, trimmed and washed

300g chicken/pork ribs

6-8 red dates, de-seeded

3-4 dried fig (can get from Chinese medicine shop)

2 honey dates

10g South apricot kernels 南杏 

5g North apricot kernels 北杏 

2500ml water

Salt to taste


Step 1:  Blanch the chicken in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes to remove surface scum. This process makes for a clearer soup. Remove, rinse and set aside.

Step 2: Transfer all the ingredients into a soup pot EXCEPT the watercress and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, add in the watercress and turn to the low heat and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours. 

Important note: Watercress must be added when the water is boiling to avoid the soup become bitter. 

Step 3: Add salt to taste & serve.



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