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Delightful and Nutritious Chinese Watercress Soup Recipe to Try Today

Discover the delightful flavours and nutritional benefits of Chinese watercress soup, a must-try dish known for its unique taste in Chinese cuisine. This soup, with its fresh and mildly bitter notes, offers a comforting experience for the taste buds. Its preparation is fuss-free, needing just a few essential ingredients and straightforward cooking techniques.

A pot of simmering watercress soup with garlic, ginger, and broth. Chopped watercress and tofu float in the fragrant liquid

Chinese watercress soup has a long history and is believed to have originated in the Guangdong province of China. It's traditionally made with pork ribs, watercress, and a few other ingredients, such as ginger, garlic, and dried dates. The soup is simmered for several hours, allowing the flavours to meld together and create a rich, savoury broth.

If you're interested in making Chinese watercress soup at home, you'll need to gather a few essential ingredients and follow some basic preparation techniques. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the history of this beloved soup, the key ingredients you'll need, and the steps you should follow to make a delicious batch of Chinese watercress soup. So, let's get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese watercress soup is a comforting and nutritious soup that's a staple in Chinese cuisine.
  • The soup has a long history and is believed to have originated in the Guangdong province of China.
  • To make Chinese watercress soup, you'll need a few essential ingredients, such as pork ribs, watercress, and dried dates, and follow some basic preparation techniques.

Origins of Chinese Watercress Soup

A pot simmering with watercress, ginger, and pork bones. Steam rises as the flavors meld, creating a fragrant Chinese watercress soup

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, you may have tried watercress soup before. This classic dish has been enjoyed by Chinese households for generations and is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. In this section, we'll explore the origins of Chinese watercress soup and its cultural significance.

Cultural Significance

Watercress soup, also known as "sai yeung choy tong" in Cantonese, is a dish that has been enjoyed by Chinese families for centuries. The soup is said to have originated in the Guangdong province of China, where it was commonly served as a nutritious meal for the whole family.

In Chinese culture, watercress is believed to have medicinal properties and is often used to treat a variety of ailments. The soup is also believed to help cool the body and reduce inflammation, making it a popular choice during the hot summer months.

Cantonese Variations

Watercress soup is a popular dish in Cantonese cuisine and is typically made with pork ribs, chicken, or fish. Cantonese-style watercress soup is known for its clear broth and delicate flavour. The soup is often served as a starter or as part of a larger meal.

There are many variations of watercress soup, and each family has their own unique recipe. Some families add dried oysters or red dates to the soup for added flavour, while others prefer to keep it simple with just watercress and meat.

Overall, Chinese watercress soup is a delicious and nutritious dish that has been enjoyed by families for generations. Whether you're looking for a healthy meal or just want to try something new, watercress soup is definitely worth a try!

Essential Ingredients

A steaming pot of watercress soup with Chinese spices, surrounded by fresh watercress, ginger, and other essential ingredients

To make a delicious Chinese watercress soup, you need to start with the right ingredients. Here are the essential ingredients you will need:

Selecting Quality Watercress

The star of the show is the watercress, so it's important to choose fresh and vibrant-looking watercress. When selecting watercress, look for leaves that are bright green and not wilted or yellowed. You can also check the stems to make sure they are firm and not slimy.

Meat Choices and Alternatives

Chinese watercress soup traditionally uses pork ribs, which add a rich and meaty flavour to the soup. You can also use chicken if you prefer a milder flavour. For a vegetarian option, you can substitute the meat with shiitake mushrooms or tofu.

Flavour Enhancers

To enhance the flavour of the soup, you can add red dates, ginger, and goji berries. Red dates add a natural sweetness to the soup, while ginger adds a spicy kick. Goji berries are a great source of antioxidants and add a slightly sweet and sour taste to the soup.

For seasoning, you can use soy sauce, light soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Soy sauce adds a savoury flavour, while salt and sugar balance out the flavours in the soup. Light soy sauce is a good choice for this recipe, as it has a milder flavour compared to dark soy sauce.

By selecting quality ingredients and using the right flavour enhancers, you can make a delicious Chinese watercress soup that is packed with flavour and nutrition.

Preparation Techniques

Watercress leaves washed, chopped, and simmered in broth. Ginger, garlic, and seasoning added. Soup blended until smooth

Preparing Chinese watercress soup with pork ribs is easy and straightforward. Here are some preparation techniques that you can use:

Washing and Blanching

To prepare the pork ribs, blanch them in boiling water for two minutes. This step is important as it helps keep the broth clear and clean-tasting. After blanching, wash the ribs under running water to remove any impurities.

For the watercress, remove any wilted or yellow leaves and wash them thoroughly under cold running water. Drain the watercress and set it aside.

Simmering to Perfection

To simmer the soup, add the pork ribs, water, ginger, and garlic to a pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least an hour. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface to keep the broth clear.

Once the pork ribs are tender, add the watercress to the pot and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Season the soup with salt and white pepper to taste.

Pressure Cooker & Instant Pot Methods

If you're short on time, you can use a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot to prepare the soup. Simply add all the ingredients to the pot and cook on high pressure for 20-25 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally before opening the lid.

Using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot can help save time and make the soup more flavourful. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Overall, Chinese watercress soup with pork ribs is a nutritious and flavourful dish that is easy to prepare. By following these preparation techniques, you can make a delicious soup that is perfect for any occasion.

Nutritional Information

A steaming bowl of Chinese watercress soup sits on a wooden table, surrounded by fresh watercress, ginger, and other ingredients

If you're looking for a nutritious and delicious soup, Chinese watercress soup is a great option. Made with watercress and pork ribs, it's packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein. Let's take a closer look at the nutritional information of this soup.

Vitamins and Minerals

Watercress is a great source of vitamins and minerals. One serving of Chinese watercress soup contains a high amount of vitamin C, which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. It also contains vitamin K, which is important for bone health, and calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth.

Protein and Health Benefits

In addition to vitamins and minerals, Chinese watercress soup is also a good source of protein. The pork ribs used in the soup provide a good amount of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. Moreover, watercress is rich in anti-oxidants and other nutrients, which help to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Overall, Chinese watercress soup is a nutritious and delicious soup that is easy to prepare. It's a great option for those who are looking for a healthy and satisfying meal.

Serving Suggestions

A bowl of steaming watercress soup with Chinese spices and herbs, garnished with fresh watercress leaves and a drizzle of sesame oil

Watercress soup is a versatile dish that can be served in many different ways. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of your soup.


Watercress soup is a great accompaniment to many other dishes. Serve it with a bowl of steamed white rice and some stir-fried vegetables for a complete meal. You can also add some sliced tofu or boiled eggs to the soup for extra protein.

If you prefer meat or seafood, watercress soup pairs well with fish, pork, or chicken. You can add some sliced meat or seafood to the soup or serve it on the side.

Presentation Tips

Presentation is key when it comes to serving watercress soup. Here are some tips to help you make your soup look as good as it tastes:

  • Use a deep bowl or soup tureen to serve the soup. This will help keep it warm and make it easier to serve.
  • Garnish the soup with some fresh watercress leaves or chopped scallions for a pop of colour and flavour.
  • Serve the soup with some steamed broccoli or scallops on the side for an elegant touch.

Remember, the key to a great watercress soup is to use fresh ingredients and to season it to taste. Experiment with different accompaniments and presentation styles to find the perfect pairing for your family and friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming pot of watercress soup simmers on a stove, surrounded by fresh watercress leaves, garlic, and ginger. Steam rises from the pot, filling the air with savory aromas

How do you make a simple Chinese watercress soup?

To make a simple Chinese watercress soup, you will need chicken or pork stock, watercress, garlic, ginger, and salt. Bring the stock to a boil and add the garlic, ginger, and salt. Then add the watercress and let it simmer until the watercress is wilted. You can also add other ingredients like mushrooms, carrots, or pork ribs to add more flavour.

What are the health benefits of Chinese watercress soup?

Chinese watercress soup is a nutritious and healthy soup. Watercress is high in vitamins A, C, and K, and is a good source of calcium, iron, and folate. It is also rich in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Additionally, watercress soup can help to boost your immune system, improve digestion, and lower blood pressure.

Can watercress soup help soothe a cough?

Yes, watercress soup can help soothe a cough. Watercress has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation in the respiratory system. It is also high in vitamin C, which can help to boost your immune system and fight off infections.

What ingredients do you need for a classic Chinese watercress soup?

For a classic Chinese watercress soup, you will need watercress, garlic, ginger, salt, chicken or pork stock, and pork ribs. You can also add other ingredients like carrots, mushrooms, or red dates to add more flavour.

What's the best way to prepare watercress for soup?

To prepare watercress for soup, first rinse it under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Then trim the ends off the stems and discard any yellow or wilted leaves. If the stems are thick, you can also remove the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Finally, chop the watercress into small pieces and add it to the soup.

Are there any secret tips for making the best watercress soup?

One secret tip for making the best watercress soup is to use fresh watercress. Fresh watercress will have a bright green colour and a crisp texture. You can also add other ingredients like pork ribs or red dates to add more flavour. Another tip is to simmer the soup slowly to allow the flavours to develop.