Chinese Watercress Soup with Pork Ribs (Sai Yeung Choy Tong)
Chinese watercress soup (or “sai yeung choy tong” as the Cantonese call it) is a classic Hakka recipe. The broth, made with cooked watercress and tender pork ribs make for a warming, delicious and nutritious soup.
Course: Soups &, Stocks
Keyword: chinese watercress soup
1½poundspork rib tips or ribs(cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces)
First, blanch the ribs. In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the pork ribs. Bring the water back up to a simmer, and after 2 minutes, turn off the heat. Drain and wash the ribs clean under running water. This step is important––it keeps your broth clear and clean tasting.
Put the blanched pork ribs, smashed ginger slices, and 8 cups of water in a clean pot. Bring the water to a boil, and immediately turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 90 minutes, covered. Cantonese soups require low heat for a delicate favor and clear broth. Check on the soup periodically to make sure it is lightly simmering, but not boiling.
In the meantime, prepare the watercress by trimming off the large tough stems, and washing thoroughly in water 2-3 times.
After 90 minutes, stir in 1¼ teaspoons of salt, cover, and simmer for another 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, give your soup a quick stir, and use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any floating particles. Next, use a ladle to skim off the excess grease that is floating at the top of the soup. Stir in the watercress, cover, and bring up to a simmer. Then lower the heat and cook the soup for 15-30 minutes. I personally like to simmer the watercress soup for 30 minutes at this stage, so the soup takes on that distinctive watercress flavor. Though keep in mind that the watercress will not be as vibrant. Feel free to adjust the cooking time based on your preference.
Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Serve the soup with a hot bowl of rice and a small dish of light soy sauce as a dipping sauce for the pork. After cooking in the soup for so long, the ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender and perfect with a little soy sauce. You can enjoy this classic Chinese Watercress Soup the way Cantonese families tend to serve it––as the first course of a meal, but it also makes a great, simple one-pot meal for a cold day.