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.
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.
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:
- 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. :)
How do you prepare Chinese watercress soup?
This is one of the simplest soup to prepare.
- Cut pork spare ribs into bite-size pieces, then blanch in a pot of boiling water to ensure a final clear soup.
- 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.
- Wash watercress in plenty of cold water to remove dirt. Then roughly chop the vegetables into 2” bite-size pieces.
- When the pork is tender (after about 1 hour of simmering), add the chopped watercress to the soup pot, and season with salt.
- 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. :)
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
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins
- 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)
- (Optional) Blanch pork spare ribs in a pot of boiling water to ensure a final clear soup.
- 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
- 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.
- Add goji berries and cook for another 5 minutes.