Watercress soup and the health benefits of watercress

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

Watercress Soup Recipe


500gm watercress

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.

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Comments: 5

  1. engineer May 27, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Wah….the soup can cure a thousand illness but can heal a broken heart or not???

  2. engineer May 27, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    I read somewhere got 1 family caught their maid using her underwear to make soup for the hubby to drink. I wonder if the maid was add extra flavour to the soup. I wonder if she was making water cress soup??

    Hahahahha water cress tai foo tong !!!! no wonder got fishy taste.

  3. andybrown May 27, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Watercress has been used for centuries….Greek generals fed it to their troops for building stamina prior to battle and Socrate’s first hospital was built next to watercress beds because he used it extensively for detoxing and blood purification.and today it is currently under small scale clinical trials as a treatment for cancer prevention among breast cancer survivors in lieu of the multi-side-effect monsters developed by the supper-pharm-corps like Tomoxiphan and others.

    Guess what, it works better and has no side affects.

    When Nutri-Systems introduced their first multi-vitamin…it was mostly watercress.

    V-8 juice is loaded with watercress…why?…it’s Mother Nature’s most effective multi-vitamin.

    Eat more watercress…
    in the US, over 60% of watercress consumption is by Chinese…

  4. Foong May 28, 2008 at 1:17 am

    engineer: broken heart easy onee lar…no need watercress soup for that, just go find some awek with big tits to drown your sorrows and all will be forgotten….
    Uggghhh.watercress taifoo tong…ewwwwwwwwww…but hor, I think the maid proly making a kampung specialty soup to make sure the man of the house listen to her! ‘Sup Kampung Curi Suami’, not watercress lah.

    andybrown: thanks. As you can see, my recipe is a Chinese one and yes, we Chinese do consume a lot of watercress as we believe that it is good for us.

  5. molly December 27, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Simple and easy yet so nutritious. I didnt know it contains so many vitamins.
    I find it a little cooling so usually I add in few slices of ginger.

    molly’s last blog post..MERRY CHRISTMAS &&&&& HAPPY 2009

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