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December 24, 2020 – 1:14 pm | 3,857 views

Soup Name:  Basic Chinese Chicken Soup Stock (Soup Base)

Traditional Chinese Name: 清雞湯 (qīng jī tāng)

Introduction: This is the base Chinese Chicken Soup stock that …

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Luo Han Guo in Watercress Soup

Submitted by on December 26, 2010 – 9:58 pm14 Comments | 28,512 views

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)
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  • Kym says:

    juz in time for me? Coughing badly now.

  • valeria says:

    My daughter is 15 months and having cough with phlegm, can she eat this soup? Cuz last time I boiled her luo han guo (like liang tea) and the seller in chinese med shop said half of glass is enough for her, (and I am thankful, I gave her that cuz her heaty body got cooled soon after :D) I plan to feed her this soup for lunch and dinner will it be okayy? Or how? Thank u

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Valeria, yes, this soup is OK for 15 months. Once they hit 12 months, most soups are OK – with the exception of peanuts still maybe (depending if you are more Western or Asian thinking). Hope this helps and wishing your daughter a quick and speedy recovery! Lisa

  • Babyblue says:

    Hello Lady Tong,

    I love making this soup when my son has a cough. Is it okay to make this soup without the following ingredients? Pork shank, chestnuts or watercress? I’m wondering because I have seen my mom just boil Luo Han Guo on it’s own for us.

  • Chris says:

    Northern apricot kernels or southern?

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Chris,
    Actually, a combination of both! With soups, I usually add both north and south together. Hope this helps! Lisa

  • Sher says:

    Hi Lady Tong,

    I do not have pork shank on hand, can I use pork bones instead or other cuts of meat?


  • Mrs Chan says:


    Can’t find chestnuts at the store. What can I use to replace it? Also can I add carrot to this soup?

    Thanks in advance.

  • rose says:

    Hi there. What meat could I use to substitute for the pork – chicken or beef? (Would it still taste as nice?) 🙂

  • LadyTong says:

    Hi Rose, chicken is always the best substitute for pork in this case for watercress soup. Beef in general is a different type of meat for Chinese soups and not commonly used. I’ve made chicken and watercress and it still turned out nice – use chicken bones (whole carcass) or leg bones. Hope this helps! G’luck. Lisa

  • Candice says:


    Can I put all ingredients into the pressure cooker to boil at same time?

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Candice, this is one I’d probably not use a pressure cooker for, unless you can separate the watercress to the end. You can boil the soup base first (with everything except the watercress) and when almost ready to serve, drop in the watercress and let cook for another 5 minutes. Watercress isn’t great when it’s cooked too long because it disintegrates. Hope this helps! Lisa

  • Colina says:

    Hi, on step 7 you said add all the ingredients together but step 9, you said add the watercress. So should step 7 be add all ingredients together except watercress?

  • LadyTong says:

    Thanks, Colina, for catching that! Depending on how crunchy you’d like the watercress, you can add right at the end before consumption. You can flash boil for 3-4 minutes to soften slightly. Overtime, the watercress will soften and darken and the leaves will begin to break apart. It all depends on how crunchy you’d like it! However, traditional Chinese-styled watercress soup is quite soft… it’s because they do leave it in! Hope this helps! Lisa

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