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Watercress Soup Two Ways

Monday, 24 May 2010

Chinese believe that our body reacts differently to different kinds of food which affect our state of health. I believe you heard of yin and yang? Which often relates to female and male, cold and hot? Yin foods are cooling and calming while yang foods have opposite effects which increases your body's heat and often leads to sore throat, nose bleed, pimples and acne, mouth ulcers and the like. Having said that, although yin food is nourishing, too much yin food leads to dizziness, weakness, pale. So, ideally, it's best to eat both types of yin and yang food to keep the body in balance.

It's been extremely hot for the past few days and so it's time for some yin foods!

Summer Contrast

In Malaysia, where the temperature is always 30°C or higher, you can get all sorts of Chinese "cooling tea" 凉茶 like monk's fruit drink 罗汉果, sugar cane juice, Chrysanthemum tea, "turtle" jelly 龟苓膏. Apart from drinking cooling teas, soup is another great way to remove excessive "heat" from the body. Watercress soup 西洋菜汤 is a very common "cooling" soup in Chinese families, my grandma used to cook this at least once a week. Besides its "cooling" effect, it is believed to detoxify our lungs of impurities, so it's good for smokers. It is also used traditionally as a cough remedy.

Watercress & Ikan Bilis Soup

watercress soup
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
  • 6 cups water
  • 350g watercress 西洋菜
  • 10 dried red dates
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • Salt

Directions:
  • Wash ikan bilis and place in a pot. Add 6 cups water, bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for 30 mins.
  • Strain to remove ikan bilis.
  • Place ikan bilis stock and other ingredients in a pot, bring to boil then cover and lower heat to simmer for at least 2 hrs (the longer the better). I left it to cook under pressure for 45 mins.
  • Add salt to taste.

Ingredients for watercress soup
From bottom clockwise: ikan bilis/ dried anchovies, goji berries, red dates

Watercress & Pork Rib Soup

watercress soup pork ribs
Ingredients:
  • 1 kg pork ribs
  • 6 cups water
  • 350g watercress 西洋菜
  • 10 dried red dates
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • Salt

Directions:
  • Blanch pork ribs to get rid of scum. You can do this by placing all the pork ribs in a pot, add water to cover pork ribs. Bring to boil, you'll see scum floating while it's heating up. When water is boiling, remove from heat and strain. Wash ribs in cold water.
  • Place blanched pork ribs and other ingredients in a pot. Bring to boil then cover and lower heat to simmer for at least 2 hrs (the longer the better). I left it to cook under pressure for 1 hr.
  • Add salt to taste.

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