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)


Ingredient Name: Watercress

Traditional Chinese Name: 西洋菜 (xīyáng cài)
A very popular vegetable used to remove excess heatiness in the body.  It’s a versitile plant with uses in a variety of cultures.  The one thing that I hate about this plant is the high level of bugs you can find in them.  When boiled in soup, the bugs usually float to the top of the soup – which makes it easy for extraction, but even then, as a kid, it was the grossest thing to see in your soup.  As a mother now, I just wave it off and think “more nutrients” but caution prevails because many of the bugs are actually parasites.

What is this?

  • A fast-growing aquatic plant that is part of the cabbage family
  • It can be eaten cooked or raw and is often found in salads, sandwiches and soups
  • The plant is cultivated before flower buds appear or else the leaves become too rank in flavour for consumption
  • Watercress is not normally found in dried form and therefore can only be stored for a short period of time – ideally, it is consumed fresh
  • This plant is available all year round

How do I prepare it?

  • Wash in cold salted water at least twice to remove potential pesticides and parasites

Where can I buy this?

  • You are able to purchase fresh watercress from most supermarkets
  • It is a highly perishable food and needs to be consumed within a few days of purchase

What is the cost?

  • Watercress is very affordable and costs around $1.00 – $2.00 per bundle

Any benefits?

  • Watercress is high in iron, calcium, folic acid, and Vitamins A & C
  • When boiled in soup, it assists in removing heatiness and relieves coughs
  • Western studies have found that watercress may reduce the risk of cancer

Any precautions?

  • Watercress tends to grow in areas of high animal waste and is good breeding grounds for parasites and bacteria, therefore it is highly recommended to thoroughly wash watercress before consumption
  • Be sure to add watercress to BOILING water, else it will make the watercress bitter
  • Flowering watercress is also bitter, so buy young and flowerless watercress to reduce the chance of bitterness in the soup