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Sai Yong Choy Tong (Watercress Soup) is a slow boil, clear, and nourishing soup. It is very popular among the Malaysian Chinese.
Slow boiled and nourishing Sai Yong Choy Tong (Watercress Soup) is very, very popular among the Malaysian Chinese. Many consider this soup as a remedy for coughs and colds. Whatever the case may be, it is certainly a very tasty and soothing soup.
Slow boiled soups are very easy to prepare and this one is no exception. You only need 3 ingredients (not counting water) – watercress, red dates/jujubes, and pork ribs to cook this soup. All the ingredients are simply combined in a pot with water and boiled over low heat for about 2 hours. You can use chicken instead of pork if preferred.
Sai Yong Choy (Watercress)
In Malaysia, the Sai Yong Choy is of a larger species. The stems are longer and thicker. Over here in the US, watercress is sold in tiny bunches, all nicely trimmed. One bunch weighs approximately 8 ounces (225g) and is sufficient to make a pot of soup for 4 persons. You can use 2 bunches for a more concentrated flavor.
Raw watercress is bright green in color with crunchy stems and a slight peppery taste. They turn an olive green color and become very soft after boiling at which point all their goodness is transferred to the soup. You can still eat the vegetable or discard it altogether but most people would serve some of it together with the soup.
Goji/Wolf Berries – Optional
Some families like a little goji/wolf berries to the soup. Simply add the rinsed goji berries to the soup 5 minutes before turning off the stove. We do not usually do that in our family but you are certainly welcomed to do so if you like. Red dates/jujubes on the other hand is a must to provide a little sweetness to the soup.
Similar Tools Used in Making This Sai Yong Choy Tong (Watercress Soup)
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Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless Stockpot with Cover, 6-Quart
Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Spoon Set
Winco UT-9 Coiled Spring Heavyweight Stainless Steel Utility Tong, 9-Inch
Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Skimmer for Skimming Grease and Foam
Sai Yong Choy Tong (Watercress Soup)
- 1 bunch sai yong choy / watercress, trimmed and washed (½ lb / 225g)
- 1 lb pork neck bones or pork ribs (450g)
- 12 red dates / jujubes rinsed and soaked for 15 minutes
- Fill a large pot half full of water. Bring to a boil. Add pork neck bones or ribs. Allow it to blanch for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with thongs and rinse in cold water.
- Discard water in pot and fill with 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fresh water. Bring to a boil.
- Add blanched neck bones (ribs), red dates, and watercress. Bring water back up to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow soup to simmer for 1½ to 2 hours. Skim off any scum appearing on the surface.
- Season with salt to taste and turn off heat.
- Serve warm in individual bowls.
A Soothing and Comforting Soup
You seldom find this Watercress Soup outside of home. It is a light, soothing, and comforting soup and I urge you to give it a try if you have never tasted it. I served it with rice and Kong Tau Yew Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce with tofu cubes instead of hard boiled eggs this time. This truly is home cooking at its best.
NOTE: The original publication of this post was on June 2nd, 2017. This republication comes with minor changes to the writeup. The recipe remains unchanged.