Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Watercress Duck Gizzard Soup (西洋菜鸭肾汤)

Ingredients: A piece of dried orange peel and some pork ribs in addition to the above

If you are wondering what is this "ribbon look-alike" thing in the above picture - it is dried duck gizzard or  鸭肾 (duck kidneys).  I mainly used this for soups, in particular, for making watercress soup.  Adding dried duck gizzards is a traditional Cantonese way of preparing the watercress soup.  Besides adding a very nice flavour to the soup, both my mum and MIL highly recommend this soup for kids - helps to relieve lungs and body heatiness while improves appetite.  In the olden days, there were no multi-vitamins pills as health supplements, so mums will prepare this soup when their kids had poor appetite.  For me, I certainly love the wonderful flavour that the duck gizzards add to the soup.  Alternatively, I used dried cuttlefish which it is more commonly available in our local wet markets.

Another home-cooked traditional soup

(serves 4)

1 bunch watercress  (西洋菜)
4 pieces pork ribs, around 250g  (排骨)
1 - 2 dried duck gizzards (干鸭肾)
6 - 7 red dates (红枣)
2 honey dates (蜜枣)
A handful apricot kernels (南北杏)
1 piece dried orange peel (果皮)
Small piece of ginger (姜)

1) Blanch the pork ribs in hot water to remove impurities.  Remove and set aside.
2) Bring a pot of water to boil (about 1.8 litre).  When the water starts boiling, add in all the ingredients.  Let it boil for 5 minutes and then simmer over low heat for 90 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

I divided my watercress to two portions - the stalk and the leafy portions.  I added the stalk portion at the beginning and only added the leafy portion at the last 15 minutes of cooking without covering with a lid.  I was trying to retain the nice green colour of the leaves.  MISTAKE!  There is a slight bitter aftertaste in the soup from the watercress.  I recalled the old-time advice to add the watercress while the water is boiling (mine was simmering as it was already into the last 15 minutes of cooking), else there will be a bitter aftertaste in the soup!

OK, lesson learnt:
 - add the watercress while water is boiling.  
 - let it boil for a while before lowering the heat to let it simmer.


  1. Ohh.. duck gizzards. I've never heard of using this in soups. I'll try this if I ever see some.

  2. I think is Cantonese style cos I do not see this used for outside soup too!

  3. This is interesting. I have not tried adding duck gizzards too :) Thanks for sharing.

  4. Dried duck gizzard has a waxy kind of smell before cooking. Yet, after cooking, it will add a nice aroma to the soup. Very much like the dried cuttlefish or salted fish, strong smell b4 cooking, but strange enough, it taste wonderful after cooking and works miracle!

  5. Oh, I miss this soup. Mom used to cook this a lot when we were young. :) Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving you comment. Much appreciated.


  6. Hi Fong,

    Where can I buy the dried duck gizzard ?

    Heard alot of benefits about watercress... must start cooking this for my family. Linda

  7. I bought ithe dried duck gizzard at Chinatown market.

  8. Where can I buy dried duck gizzard in San Diego?

  9. Try to see if you can buy dried duck gizzard from Chinese provision shops or Chinatown. Else, just omit it.


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