This soup is not appealing in the picture, but it’s a very comforting and homey Cantonese soup for me. Watercress sold in Chinatown or Chinese grocery stores used to have big stems and big leaves, and was quite cheap. But in recent years the price has go up and they are getting tiny– which is good for making salad, but not for making this soup. So, whenever I see the right type of watercress selling, I always tempt to make this soup.
Watercress & Pork Rib Soup 西洋菜湯 Recipe (serves 4-6 people)
1.5 lbs pork spare ribs– cut into pieces
2-3 bunches watercress– see note below
4 dried red dates
1 1/2 gallon water
salt to taste
- Add red dates and water to a deep pot, cover and let it boil for 5 minutes on high heat.
- In a separate pot, blanch spare ribs in boiling water to remove any impurities. Remove and rinse ribs. Discard the water.
- Add blanched ribs to the deep pot, cover and boil on high heat for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and continue cooking for another 1.5 hours. The soup will look “cloudy” if cooked for a long time.
- While the soup is cooking, wash and rinse watercress several times. Since watercress grow in water, there are tiny slug sometimes hiding in between the leaves.
- Add watercress to the soup and give it a couple of stir to mix in. Add more water if necessary. Cover and continue cooking until the watercress turns yellowish and soft, about 30 minutes. Add salt to taste. If you want some crunchy texture of watercress, reserve some and cook in the soup briefly before serving.
- How to pick watercress for this soup: According to my mom, use watercress that has no reddish stem/leaves or the soup will taste bitter. Also, use watercress that has bigger stems and leaves. The young tender ones are good for salad but not for this soup.