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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. I just cooked this last night! Really like your current food photography style. Aren’t our hamsters fortunate? Hehe..

  2. Very interesting sounding recipe. I love watercress and remember picking it wild when I was a young girl. Also I was interested to hear another name for ginseng that I hadn’t heard before. Welcome to Weekend Herb Blogging.

  3. I love watercress soup too! Next time I will try chicken. For once, I wish I can turn into “hamsters” so that I have good food :P
    Like your presentation too!

  4. Your soups with herbs are really inspirtional. I’m not a big fan of chinese herbs but somehow u make these herbal soups seem delish..

  5. Ah… I was just thinking I should make watercress soup soon :) I usually double boil mine, chuck everything in a slow cooker for 6-10 hours. Put them in before i leave the house and come home to hot soup. Mmmm… I tend to use honey dates (蜜枣) with water cress soup, and pork; they both make the soup sweeter. My mother’s recipe, I must follow ;)

  6. ^ double-boiled~! for 6-10 hours!! =O your soup must taste very heavenly, yummy.

    I usually leave my soup in the thermal cooker for a few hours too, maybe I will try honey dates next time =D

    Thanks for the nice comments all =D

  7. I’ve never had watercress anyway other than raw, nor have I ever tasted the dates, ginseng, or wolfberries. I love recipes where I can’t imagine what they’d taste like!

  8. Yeah, I’m a convert now. :P I used to think the leaves have a strong smell. The soup tastes very good actually, sweet and herby. :)

  9. Laurie: hee, watercress soup is actually common where I stay (Singapore). I’ve never actually tried raw watercress b4 but I’ll find some organic ones to toss in my salads next time. Thanks for visiting my blog! =)

  10. Looks interesting. I would have never thought of putting this combo together. I’m going to try it this weekend.

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