Watercress Soup – Chinese vs Western Style

research done at William Paterson University shows that watercress has the highest nutrition density. Chinese cabbage, chards and beet greens follow behind.

Watercress is known to contain high level of vitamin C, calcium, iron and folate. It is also a great addition to our diet to prevent breast and stomach cancer. Watercress is best eaten raw in form of salad, thus it would be better to get the organic version. Unfortunately, it is bitter and peppery when left uncooked. My children are not able to appreciate the taste. Their favourite is still the Chinese soup version, which is known for helping to reduce symptoms of asthma. I introduced the creamy soup version recently and they could accept it.

Chinese Watercress Soupwatercress soup


  • Watercress 600 grams
  • 2 large carrots
  • 10 honey dates
  • 1 piece of dried orange peel (about 2cm by 2cm)
  • sweet almond (南杏) about 10 grams
  • bitter almond (北杏) about 15 grams
  • lean meat 300 gram
  • water 2.5 litre
  • salt, fish sauce and pepper

Bitter almond also helps to alleviate coughs, while the dried orange peel helps to reduce dampness in the body. But due to its distinctive tangy taste, it is best to just throw in a small piece of the orange peel. Honey dates and sweet almonds give the soup a savoury taste. You can use red dates instead of honey dates but it will not mask the bitter taste from the bitter almond and orange peel.


  • Wash all ingredients and cut off the stems from the watercress.
  • Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Blanch meat to remove the impurities. This should take just a minute.
  • Fill your soup pot with the 2.5 litre of water and bring to boil.
  • Add in all ingredients except for watercress. Boil over medium heat for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, add watercress and allow to the soup to come to a boil. Turn off fire once the leaves soften. In most Chinese cooking, the watercress will be left to stew for a long while. I personally prefer to keep the cooking short in order to retain the nutrients in the vegetables.
  • Add salt, fish sauce and pepper to taste.
See my other post here if you like soup recipe:

Cream of Watercress



  • Watercress 400 grams
  • Water 1 litre
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large chicken drumsticks
  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • Cooking cream


  • Boil water and add in the drumsticks.
  • Boil over medium fire for 1 hour. Alternatively, you can use pre-packed chicken stock.
  • Peel the onion and potatoes and cut them into big chunks.
  • Heat oil in a separate soup pot and add in onions and potatoes. Fry until the potatoes are soft.
  • Pour the chicken stock into the soup pot and boil until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Add the watercress and remove the drumsticks.
  • Blend the soup once the vegetables are softened.
  • Add the cooking cream, salt and pepper into the soup. Adjust according to taste.

Which one do you prefer?