My Chinese herbalist said I should eat seaweed during chemo, a cool food for my body to act as an antidote to the hot chemo drugs. Basically what he wanted me to eat was... Kombu. I had a bit of a problem with this as I had become very sensitive to certain strong tastes. Here’s a quick Watercress & Seaweed Soup that solved the problem. You can make it in about 30 minutes and it doesn’t feel as if you’re eating the beach! The watercress has lots of vitamin A, C and K in it, plus minerals like calcium and manganese.
It’s distinctive taste tones down the seaweediness of the Kombu. You can, of course make this soup without the seaweed just skip step 1 and leave it out! The soup looks pretty too, olive green with flecks of bright green from the watercress leaves and parsley you add at the end.
Put the kombu seaweed into a pot and cover with 2 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the seaweed. Set the water aside to use as part of the stock.
Separate the tender leaves of the watercress from the tough stems. Set the leaves aside. Finely dice the stems.
In a large wide pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it ripples, add the onion and the diced watercress stems. Sauté until they start to soften. Add the potato, sauté to mix well. Cover, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Sweat for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Add 6 cups of stock and 2 cups of the kombu cooking water. Add the reserved seaweed, cover and bring to a slow boil. Cook over a low heat until the seaweed is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the seaweed from the pot and cut into a small dice. Set aside. When the potatoes are very tender, add ½ of the reserved watercress leaves and cook stirring until they wilt.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender or directly in the pot with an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning. Heat the soup through and add the seaweed, cook for 2 minutes then add the remaining watercress leaves and chopped parsley. Cover, turn off the heat and let the soup sit for 5 minutes
Serve the soup hot with a little yogurt or a knob of butter as a garnish. Sprinkle with a little extra chopped parsley.
If your mouth is sore, don’t add the diced seaweed and cress leaves, just sip on the puree.