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Watercress and Pork Soup

This Chinese watercress and pork ribs soup is packed with nutrition. The delicious soup is super easy to prepare and you will only need 4 ingredients.

Watercress soup is one that almost every Chinese family knows how to prepare. The Chinese name for this vegetable is 西洋菜 (xi yang cai), and it is packed with lots of vitamins and antioxidants, always a good thing to have every now and then :) The easiest way to cook this soup is with some pork ribs and salt along with the watercress, but I am adding a bit more ingredients like red dates and goji berries to add sweetness and even more vitamins to this healthy soup.

Ingredients to prepare Chinese watercress pork ribs soup: watercress, spare ribs, Chinese red dates/jujube, and goji berries.

Ingredients to prepare Chinese watercress pork ribs soup: watercress, pork spare ribs, Chinese red dates/jujube, and goji berries.

What is watercress?

Watercress is an aquatic plant that grows near spring water and slow-moving streams. When eaten raw, it has a peppery flavor and can be enjoyed as a salad. So next time you want to grab for some spinach or Romaine lettuce, you can give watercress a try instead. In Chinese cuisine, this plant is either used as a stir-fry dish or cooked into a soup, like this watercress and pork ribs soup.

Watercress is packed with nutrition. On top of having a high antioxidant content, each serving (100 gram/3.5 oz) of watercress contains:

  • 64% of daily recommended Vitamin A
  • 72% of daily recommended Vitamin C
  • a whopping 318% of daily recommended Vitamin K

So do give this vegetable a try, you may end up loving it and want to enjoy more of it in your daily diet.

How to prepare Chinese watercress pork ribs soup: (1) Boil blanched pork spare ribs and red dates/jujube until the pork is tender. (2) Roughly chop watercress into 2-inch sections, washed and drained. (3) Add watercress into soup pot and cook until tender.

How to prepare Chinese watercress pork ribs soup: (1) Boil blanched pork spare ribs and red dates/jujube until the pork is tender. (2) Roughly chop watercress into 2-inch sections, washed and drained. (3) Add watercress into soup pot and cook until tender.

What do you need to prepare Chinese watercress soup?

This simple Chinese soup doesn’t need many ingredients at all, and my version has the following:

  • watercress
  • pork spare ribs
  • Chinese red dates/jujube
  • goji berries

Even if all you have are the watercress and the pork ribs, you will still end up with an excellent soup. The red dates and goji berries are there to make this nutritious soup even more nutritious, and to add a hint of sweetness. The red and the orange color from these two ingredients also add a lovely contrast to the watercress. :)

Chinese watercress pork ribs soup.

Chinese watercress pork ribs soup.

How do you prepare Chinese watercress soup?

This is one of the simplest soup to prepare.

  1. Cut pork spare ribs into bite-size pieces, then blanch in a pot of boiling water to ensure a final clear soup.
  2. Boil together blanched pork spare ribs with salt, red dates, and water, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the pork is tender.
  3. Wash watercress in plenty of cold water to remove dirt. Then roughly chop the vegetables into 2” bite-size pieces.
  4. When the pork is tender (after about 1 hour of simmering), add the chopped watercress to the soup pot, and season with salt.
  5. When the watercress is tender (usually about 20-30 minutes), add the goji berries and cook for another 5 minutes.

Our watercress and pork ribs soup is done! You can enjoy the soup as is, or with some steamed white rice. In my family, our meal is typically made up of a bowl of steamed white rice, a bowl of soup, and 2-3 main and side dishes. :)

Chinese watercress pork ribs soup.

Chinese watercress pork ribs soup.

Other easy Chinese soup recipes to try

Once you try this watercress soup, you may want to also try my other Chinese pork soup recipes:

If you prefer Chinese chicken soup instead, you may want to try these recipes:

Originally published on November 9, 2013. Updated on January 1, 2020 with new photos.

Watercress and Pork Soup


5.0 from 6 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 500 gram (1 lb.) pork spare ribs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 12-15 dried jujube fruits/red dates (Chinese: hong zao)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cup (1.5 liter) water
  • 250 gram watercress (Chinese: xi yang cai / Indonesian: selada air), remove ends and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon goji berries (Chinese: gou qi)

Instructions

  1. (Optional) Blanch pork spare ribs in a pot of boiling water to ensure a final clear soup.
  2. Boil together blanched pork spare ribs with red dates, salt, and water, the reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the pork is tender. About 1 hour
  3. Add watercress into the pot bring it to a boil again. Reduce heat and simmer until the the watercress is tender. About 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add goji berries and cook for another 5 minutes.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Pamela Lee Pamela Lee says:

    Hi Anita. I'm a Malaysian Chinese & I love your blog and I hv tried a few of ur recipes. They r very practical. Regarding this watercress soup, I went to the shop trying to buy Chinese almonds, the actually have south n north Chinese almonds.Which one do you use?

    • Anita Anita says:

      I usually use the south Chinese almonds (the sweet ones), though my Mom prefers half south and half north :)

      • Pamela Pamela says:

        Thnx :)

  • Lian Lian says:

    Hi! Do you have to marinate the pork before putting it into cook?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Lian, you don't need to marinate the pork. But, if you want a really clear soup, you can blanch the pork in hot water and drain to help remove the scum :)

  • the lousy cook wife the lousy cook wife says:

    My husband and I really loved this dish! Thank you<3

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Stephanie.

  • Tina Tina says:

    Hi! I don't have an Asian store near me to find watercress. Is there a substitute vegetable you might recommend? Thank you :)

    • Anita Anita says:

      It won't be called "watercress and pork soup", but you can also use daikon, winter melon, lotus root, or even napa cabbage. Cooking time will vary based on the vegetable you use. My rough guideline is as long as the vegetable is soft and tender, the soup is done (of course, the pork needs to be fully cooked as well).

  • Em Em says:

    Hi Anita I cook this and it was my first time adding south apricot kernel Not sure why the soup was bitter Can u advise what went wrong Tks

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Em, as far as I know south apricot kernel is not bitter, while north apricot kernel is bitter. Perhaps the one you bought is wrongly labelled?

  • Veena Azmanov Veena Azmanov says:

    I have never tried pork in a soup and all the wonderful flavors added to it is amazing. This bowl of soup is so comforting and surely delicious for dinner.

  • Adrianne Adrianne says:

    Oh wow this is making me so hungry. That pork looks tender and delicious. The watercress is such a great combination with it and I love how it only takes 15 mins to prep the soup!!

  • Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says:

    I am loving all of the soups happening this soup season!! This one looks particularly good. Bookmarked!!

  • georgie georgie says:

    This sounds so cozy for the winter! I love hearty but fresh flavours in soup!

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