Pork Tofu and Watercress Soup

September 30, 2022

As days start to cool down, I start looking for warming and satisfying dishes, like this soup. Pork tofu and watercress is a fairly common stir-fry dish found in Hawaii. A simple and tasty dish, sometimes it includes other vegetables like onions and bean sprouts to round it out. This soup brings together the flavors of that stir-fry into a soup. It is delicious without being heavy.

What is watercress?

Watercress is a dark, leafy green with a peppery, almost bitter bite. Its flavor is almost akin to arugula, but to me it’s stronger. It is known to have many health benefits as well.

You will often find watercress used merely as a garnish but it can also be used as an addition to salads or in watercress sandwiches for afternoon tea. I prefer to eat watercress cooked as it takes off the bitter edge. I like it in this soup but also for shabu shabu/hot pot.

Watercress is easy to find in local Hawaii grocery stores. We buy ours from the farmer’s market where we can find of fresh, organic watercress for a few dollars. It’s more than enough to make this soup, a batch of tofu salad, and still have leftovers for another use.

Fresh organic watercress from the local farmer’s market

Making the soup

In spite of the name, the pork in this soup merely serves as a flavoring like the garlic and ginger. The real focus is the tofu and watercress. You begin by simmering the pork, ginger, and garlic to fortify the broth and impart their flavor to the soup. You finish by adding the tofu and watercress at the end with a bit of sesame oil for flavoring. That’s all there is to it.

Serving the soup

This soup may be served as a starter to a larger Chinese meal or it can be served as a main dish. Many in Hawaii would add rice to the soup to make a heartier dish.

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Pork Tofu and Watercress Soup

  • Author: She’s Almost Always Hungry
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This fragrant soup is satisfying without being heavy. It can be served as a starter or a main dish.


Units Scale

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 pound pork belly, sliced into thin slices

1 16ounce carton firm tofu, cut into small 1/2″ dice

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced

1 pound watercress, thick stems removed, cut into 1″-2″ pieces

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


In a pot over medium heat, heat vegetable oil until barely shimmering.

Add sliced pork and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the minced garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the tofu and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the watercress and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the sesame oil. Taste and adjust for seasoning as needed.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 32 minutes
  • Category: Soups
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian-American


  • Calories: 492.25
  • Sugar: 0.9 g.
  • Sodium: 140.22 g.
  • Fat: 42.32 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 12.82 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 7.4 g.
  • Fiber: 1.51 g.
  • Protein: 22.81 g.
  • Cholesterol: 40.82 g.

Keywords: pork belly, tofu, watercress

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