Luo Han Guo in Watercress Soup

Soup Name: Luo Han Guo in Watercress Soup

Traditional Chinese Name: 羅漢果西洋菜湯 (luóhàn guǒ xī yáng cài tāng)

This soup is excellent for assisting in coughs and removing phelgm.  It also aids in providing moisture (with the chestnuts) to the body and lungs for those dry autumn and winter months.  It is considered a pretty sweet soup and ideal for all ages.

What Ingredients are required?

1 pound of fresh pork shank
1/2 dried luo han guo
1 tablespoon of  apricot kernals
15 whole raw chestnuts
2-3 bunches of fresh watercress
1 large piece of dried tangerine peel

2-3 L of water
1 teaspoon of salt (to marinate the pork)

How do I prepare it?

  • Pre-marinate the pork overnight with the salt (although this step is not necessary)
  • Boil your soup water
  • Blanch pork shank in a separate pot of boiling water
  • In another separate pot, boil chestnuts for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from water and peel while still hot (removing the outer and inner skin)
  • Half luo han guo and rinse in warm water
  • Wash and soak apricot kernals and tangerine peel in warm water
  • When the water boils, add all the ingredients together except the watercress (this should be added last because it will stay relatively crunchy before consumption)
  • Boil on high for thirty minutes and reduce to a simmer for another 1.5 hours (or use a thermal pot)
  • When almost ready to drink, re-boil and add in watercress.  Boil on high for 10 minutes (or until desired softness of watercress)
  • Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • An excellent soup to assist with coughs and loosening of phlegm
  • Ideal for dry autumn consumption as it helps moisten the lungs and body
  • Low in fat
  • Naturally sweet

Any precautions?

  • The luo han guo produces a very sweet and distinct taste that is subjective to the drinker
  • I would suggest trying half of a fruit on your first attempt and see if you like it, definitely do not add more than 1 fruit to a soup
  • The watercress, while considered a cooling vegetable, can be consumed in moderation if in early pregnancy (use less as a precaution)

Luo Han Guo

Ingredient Name:  Luo Han Guo, Siraitia Grosvernorii, Arhat’s fruit, Monk’s fruit
Traditional Chinese Name: 羅漢果 (luóhàn guǒ)
What is this?
  • A fruit that grows on a vine plant common to southern China and northern Thailand
  • It is often found dried and used for herbals teas or soups
  • It is about the size of a baseball and has a very hard external shell when dried
  • The fruit is a dark brown colour with its insides consisting of quadrants and seeds that are the same colour
  • Often used for its sweetness and unique flavour
  • It is very light and is similar weight to that of a ping pong (with an airy interior)

How do I prepare it?

  • Clean the outer fruit with warm running water
  • Halve or quarter the fruit – it’s very hard so it’s like you have to break it open
  • Rinse the internal fruit with warm running water

Where can I buy this?

  • Most wet marts in Hong Kong will sell them at the herbalists
  • I have not seen this in supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • One fruit costs $4 HKD (less than $1 CAD)

Any benefits?

  • Extremely efficient in removing phlegm
  • Used in conjunction with apricot kernals to relieve coughs and moisten the lungs
  • Often used as a sugar substitute (ideal for diabetics to replace sugar)
  • A thirst quencher
  • The fruit contains anti-oxidants, which help in reducing aging of the skin and body and can help in preventing cancer

Any precautions?

  • The fruit has a very particular taste, so it takes some time to get used to
  • One whole fruit is quite potent, so if you’re uncertain about the flavours, I would suggest using half a fruit for a big pot of soup