As a Cantonese, soups are often the main component of meals especially at my grandmother’s place where I grew up. Amongst the soups she would make is the watercress soup which she always claimed to be nutritional and is good for ‘cooling’ the body.
Since my grandmother used to cook it once a week using fatty pork ribs which resulted in oily soup, I often avoided drinking the soup. I only drank it when it is not so oily or whenever I feel like having watercress. So, now that I have to cook for my family every once in a while, watercress soup is one of the many soups I make for my family. Here’s the recipe:
Watercress Soup Recipe
2 – 2.5 litre water
3 – 5 dried red dates, seeded
2 garlic, halved
1/4 chicken (or for non-halal, 4 – 5 pcs of chopped pork ribs / pai kut)
salt to taste
1. Season the pork/ chicken with the salt.
2. Heat up a pot with a drop of cooking oil.
3. Add in the garlic and pork to sear it over medium fire till fragrant but not fully cooked.
4. Add in the water (preferably hot).
5. Bring to a boil and add in the watercress and dates.
6. Let it simmer over medium to low fire for about an hour or until the watercress has softened.
7. Add in about a tsp of salt or according to your taste.
8. Bring to a boil. Ready to serve with rice.
Alternatively, you can put all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook it on low overnight. So, are watercress really as beneficial as it was touted to be? I did some checking and found these facts on watercress:
Facts and benefits of Watercress
1. It contains vitamins A , B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B17, C, D, E and K
2. It also has minerals – calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, sodium, magnesium, copper, manganese, florine, sulphur, chlorine, iodine, germanium, silica and zinc
3. It is often used as an antibiotic, antibacterial, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, digestive aid, antiseptic, antioxidant and tonic
4. It was also popularly used as a therapeutic herb to treat / ease conditions like coughs, head colds, bronchial ailments, tuberculosis, asthma, emphysema, stress, pain, arthritis, stiff back and joints, diabetes, anemia, constipation, cataracts, failing eye sight, night blindness, leukemia, cancer, hemorrhaging, heart conditions, eczema, scabies, body deodorizer, edema, bleeding gums, indigestion, alcoholism, intestinal parasites, circulation, sluggish menstruation, lack of energy, kidney and gall stones, as a brain and nerve strengthener; ailments of the spleen, thyroid, and liver; to normalize cholesterol and blood pressure; for improved memory, for mental function decline and to retard ageing; for failing or scant milk supply of nursing mothers; to regulate flow of bile, health of glands and the functions of body metabolism.
5. It contains more sulphur than any other vegetables, except horseradish. Sulphur helps protein absorption, purifies blood, aid in cell building and gives us healthy hair and skin.
6. It also aids weight loss as it contains potassium which has diuretic properties to rid the body of excess fluids.
7. It was used as a traditional remedy for allergies, watering eyes, sneezing and stuffy head.
8. There is an expression ‘to eat cress’ which is used to describe idiots or wit-less buffoons.