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Watercress Soup with Chicken & Ginseng

Watercress Soup (西洋菜汤)
(with chicken, red dates, carrots, pao shen & wolfberries)

This is a recipe for watercress soup cooked with chicken (versus the usual pork ribs). You can still substitute the chicken with pork ribs if you like, or even use a combination of both. For this recipe, I added some pao shen 泡参 (short american ginseng) which makes this soup extra ‘cooling’ (since pao shen has cooling properties just like watercress) & herbal tasting. This is an easy & nutritious soup which is perfect for the hot & humid weather in Singapore. The benefits of watercress are countless (among them: anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, high in Vitamin C).


(serves 2)

– 1/2 fresh chicken, chopped and skin removed (or 2 chicken drumsticks/thighs, or 200g pork ribs)
– 200g watercress (ends trimmed and roughly chopped)
– 80g carrots, peeled & cut to pieces (I used peeled baby carrots this round)
– 15 pitted red dates
– 1 tbsp wolfberries, soaked in water till puffy
– 1300ml water
– 5 to 10 short american ginseng (aka ‘Pao Shen, 泡参) [optional]
– a small pinch of salt [optional]

1. Blanch chicken in boiling water for 5 minutes (so that you are rid of the icky small bits). Set aside.
2. Place water, watercress, carrots, red dates, previously blanched chicken and short american ginseng in pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (with lid partially closed) for about 40 minutes.
3. Five minutes before you are done simmering the soup, add the soaked wolfberries. Season with salt and serve with white rice.

Watercress leaves: a pretty sight

Similar Recipes

Watercress Soup with Luo Han Guo
Watercress Soup with Chicken & Ginseng

More info about watercress:
Wiki: Watercress
Watercress: Anti-cancer superfood

More watercress soup recipes:
Didally’s watercress soup
Cuisine Paradise’s herbal watercress soup


I’m submitting this recipe to weekend herb blogging, which is hosted by Kalyn this week.

31 comments on “Watercress Soup with Chicken & Ginseng”

  1. Hi ally, hmm I just cooked it last night and it was quite sweet… in fact I even added bitter almonds hee =P Did you follow the recipe exact? to make it sweeter, you also try pork ribs and honey red dates (instead of normal dates). Hope it helps. :-)

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  3. hello wiffy…

    am glad that I found this recipe.. am thinking of cooking this soup this weekend. May I check with you with this recipe, can I still add “mi zao”, apparently “mi zao” will make the soup sweet. BTW… I just found you yesterday, love this site.. your receipes are very interesting and informative

    I ever heard some old ppl said red dates will make the soup bitter? Just curious :idea:

    • Hi parsley, are “mi zao” honey red dates? (see this post, 3rd photo.) If we are talking about the same thing, yeah you can add it! It makes the soup really sweet. Just add one or two, coz in my opinion mi zao is really really sweet. If you add mi zao, you can omit or lessen the red dates. I personally don’t find that red dates make the soup bitter. I find it gives a slight and subtle sweet taste to the soup which I like hehe … I guess it’s personal preferance :halo:

  4. hello
    yes yes.. it is honey red dates.. he..he.. I only know the “dialect” version. ok ok.. I will try it out. I love to drink soup.. now I am into preparing soup.. thanks for your soup recipes!! :up:

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  8. Hi, thanks for sharing. I brewed this recipe not long after I got married and my mother-in-law was impressed that I added pao shen in the soup !! Shh..don’t tell her I learnt from you..;)))

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