Monday 17 August 2015

Cantonese Watercress Soup 西洋菜老火汤

A few of my friends have been requesting me to share recipes on Cantonese brewed soups (老火汤). As a true blue Cantonese, I literally grew up in soups - be it tonic soups for nutrition (补汤) or cooling (滋润) purposes. It did not occur to me that many of my friends (most of them working adults) are clueless about brewing soups. 

To sustain their interests (I do not want them to fail on first attempt), I am starting with the easiest of all - Watercress Soup 西洋菜老火汤. A simple soup that is full of nutrients and anti-oxidants.

Ingredients (enough for 4 pax) :

  • 250 gm watercress 西洋菜 (trim the roots and ends away and soak in salt water to thoroughly cleanse the watercress before boil)
  • 4 pcs of pork ribs or loins (blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes to remove scum beforehand). Each piece about a half-fist size.
  • 2 pcs of dried oysters 蠔
  • 2 small pcs of dried cuttlefish 八爪鱼
  • 10 pcs pitted dried red dates/jujube 红枣 (use pitted red dates as the seeds are heaty)
  • 2 pcs of large pitted dried red dates/jujube (optional)
  • 6 to 8 pcs of small dried scallops 干瑤柱
  • 1 tbsp wolfberries 枸杞子
  • 2 litre water

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Method :

Blanch pork in a separate pot of boiling water for 5 minutes to remove scum first. Then, add pork, watercress, dried oysters, dried cuttlefish, dried red dates, dried scallops and wolfberries into soup pot. Leave half the wolfberries aside.
Add 2 litre water into soup pot and start boiling at high heat. Immediately switch to low heat once the water/soup hits boiling point. Continue to boil at low heat for another 2 to 3 hours. Add the other half of wolfberries just 5 minutes before you turn off the heat. 

Do take note that if you boil watercress in cold water, the watercress would emit a slight 'metallic' taste when boiled. I do not mind the taste. If you find it disturbing, it is best that you add the watercress only when water/soup reaches boiling point.   

Soup ready to be served.