Recipe: Watercress Soup 西洋菜汤

In the west, the Watercress is widely used in salads, sandwich and even made into juice. In Asian countries, however, we like to use them in soups.

I love Cantonese soups - the kind that have been simmered over a mild fire for an entire day, preferably over a charcoal fire.

Such lo fo tong (老火汤) are extremely wholesome and hearty!

When I was young, soup is a regular sight on the dining table and I was so easy to feed then. As long as I have soup in my rice, there is no need for any other dishes.

I remembered growing up drinking [Lotus Soup] the most, followed by the Watercress Soup.

This is a much beloved soup in my family for it's "cooling" abilities.

As with all vegetables, I know Watercress contains certain minerals and vitamins but what I do not know is that it even contains cancer-suppressing properties till now!

There are so much goodness in this vegetable it is no wonder why they called it a herb in the west.

Here are some other benefits of the Watercress:

- Antioxident
- Eases coughs
- Aids weight loss
- Controls blood sugar
- Aphrodisiac (really??)
- Treats failing eyesight

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Bon appetit!
Ingredients A:
1 bunch Watercress (roots removed, washed)
1 cup Soybeans
Spare Ribs 250gm (blanched) (I used Chicken drumsticks this time)

Ingredients B:
(All to be soaked in water till softened. Retain the liquid to be added into the soup)
1 tbsp Wolfberries/Goji (枸杞)
1 tsp Chinese Almond (南杏)
1 tsp Apricot kernel (北杏)
2 Dried Honey Dates (蜜枣)
6 Red Dates (红枣)
1 piece Dried Octopus (cut into strips)

1) Boil a pot of water (1.8L)
2) Add Ingredients A except Watercress
3) Add Ingredients B except Wolfberries/Goji
4) Allow to boil, then reduce fire to simmer for 4 hours
5) Add Watercress and Wolfberries/Goji ten minutes before serving
6) Serves 4
Fresh Watercress from the wet market

Close up

Watercress from the supermarket.
These are 'yellowing'. Don't buy.
  • I went through several recipes online instructing the Watercress to be added from the very start and simmering it for several hours which, by then, the vegetables would have turned limpy and yellow. The recipe I learnt from Mum, however, was not to overcook the Watercress, adding them last, just slightly before serving.
  • I wonder does reversing the step of adding the Watercress to the soup actually alters the beneficial properties of this soup?
* This is a scheduled post