This is the Chinese way to make Watercress Soup. It's made with only three ingredients: watercress, pork ribs, and garlic. It's light, refreshing, and great for leisurely days. Just place it on your stove and let it simmer for a few hours.
Can't get enough of Chinese Soups? Try my Chinese Chicken Meatball Soup next!
🌱 About Watercress Soup
Watercress soup is a popular soup in Chinese cooking. It has two main ingredients: watercress and pork. It comes in many variations; some include dried red dates and/or goji berries, while others include shiitake mushrooms.
But I believe the simplest preparation with only pork and watercress is the best. I do, however, add a few cloves of garlic to give it that extra oomph.
⏲️ Best Time to Add the Watercress
Many people ask about when to put watercress in the soup. The answer is it depends on what you like.
Adding watercress at the beginning infuses the broth with more watercress flavor, but it makes the watercress less flavorful and turns it a brownish color.
Adding watercress at the end makes the soup less strongly flavored, but the watercress retains its vibrant green color. Also, the vegetable keeps more of its texture.
I prefer a middle ground, adding the watercress about 20 minutes before serving. This way, the soup has some flavor but the watercress still has some texture and color.
- Fresh Watercress: You can find these in big bunches at Asian grocery stores. They are leafy, with a peppery taste. We'll be using two bunches today.
- Pork Ribs: Pork ribs have a lot of flavor, fat, and gelatin, which lend the soup richness, flavor, and body. Pork neck bones work equally well. Fatty cuts of pork, such as pork shoulder/butt, can work in a pinch as well.
- Salt: A small amount to elevate all the flavors.
- Garlic Cloves: Garlic pairs great with leafy greens, so we'll throw in a couple of cloves whole for extra flavor.
STEP 1: Fill a large stock pot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the pork ribs and simmer for one minute. Drain the liquid.
This step is called parboiling the meat. It helps remove scum (coagulated proteins) and clean the meat of any odd flavors which may have accumulated during manufacturing.
STEP 2: Refill the stockpot with 10 cups of water. Add garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
STEP 3: Add the watercress and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve immediately!
🥡 Storage & Leftovers
Storing: Allow the Chinese watercress soup to come to room temperature, then store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Reheating: Reheat leftovers by scooping out the portion you want to eat, then microwave it or heat it on the stovetop.
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Chinese Watercress Soup
- 1 ½ pounds pork ribs (or pork neck bones)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 2 bunches watercress
- Fill a large stock pot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the pork ribs and simmer for one minute. Drain the liquid.
- Refill the stockpot with 10 cups of water. Add garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to the lowest heat setting, cover, and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Add the watercress and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve immediately!