Peppery Watercress Soup

This most refreshing soup appeared often at my family table, as well as at those of my Chinese-American friends. Steve Wong’s family used to pick the watercress on the banks of the Sacramento River in California. It was fresh and cheap. My mother liked making this soup because she could come home from work and have it on the table literally in minutes. She would make the stock the night before and simply reheat it, then toss in the watercress leaves.


  • 1 litre ( pints) Chinese Chicken Stock or store-bought fresh stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 115 g (4 oz) watercress leaves
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


Bring the stock to a simmer, sprinkle in the salt and pepper, and continue to simmer for 2 minutes uncovered. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the watercress leaves and continue stirring for 1 minute. Drizzle the sesame oil on top of the soup and serve at once.