Pic: English Watercress (Illustrated on a Seed Packet)

Watercress, with its crisp, peppery flavour is my favourite salad green. It’s not often available, and when we did find a bunch, it was not perky enough for a salad. A quick stir-fry with some chickpeas seemed like a good idea.

Any greens would work for this recipe. If you like bitter greens like methi (fenugreek), mustard green or arugula, you will love this veggie. Watecress can often be found in Chinese or Southeast Asian stores.

According to recent medical research, watercress is an anti-cancer superfood. Its daily consumption reduces DNA damage to white blood cells – an important trigger in the development of cancer.  Cultivated in pure spring water, watercress has a wide array of vital nutrients.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is said to have located his first hospital close to a stream to ensure fresh watercress to help treat his patients. Greek soldiers were given it as a tonic before going into battle and the 16th Century herbalist Culpepper claimed it could cleanse the blood. It is brimming with more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals. Gram for gram, it contains more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than milk.

We used a combination of low-fat yogurt and non-fat milk powder as a substitute for cream in this recipe.



3 cups washed and chopped watercress

1/2 cup dried chickpeas (or 1.25 cups cooked)

1/2 cup chopped shallots (or red onion)

3 green chillies, chopped

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/4 tsp Kashmiri garam masala

2 tsps oil

1 tbsp plain yogurt

2 tbsp cashew powder


Watercress sapling

1. If using dried chickpeas, soak for 8 hours and cook with salt with plenty of water until soft. (About 3 whistles in the pressure cooker). Drain, save the liquid, and keep aside.

2.  Heat the oil in a pan, add the cumin and stir until toasted, then add the ginger, garlic, chillies, shallots and a pinch of salt. Stir, add some salt and cook on medium-high until the onions are light brown.

3. A the turmeric and cayenne, stir for five seconds. Add the greens and salt. Cook for three minutes until wilted.

4. Add the  chickpeas along with 1/4 cup chickpea liquid, along with the yogurt and cashew powder.

5. Simmer for 2 minutes. Check the seasonings, add the garam masala, stir and take it off the flame.

Serve with rotis, rice or bread. It makes a great filling for a toasted sandwich.

- B.

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  1. musy says:

    i enjoy watercress a lot and often prepare it with daals and potatoes. This one will surely taste good to me! Have you guys tried purslane, its got a nice, slightly sour taste-quite a lovely green that one too.

  2. kribha says:

    I’ve never tried watercress before. Nice combination of chenna and greens. Recipe looks simple and good. will try it for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lakshmi says:

    hi bee n Jai, Though watercress is available in Singapore never tried them. After reading this I will definitely try them. :yes:

  4. roopa says:

    Me too never tried :) would surely give it a try. thanks for the info! the saplings looks so cute :)

  5. Cynthia says:

    Chickpeas goe so well with so many things.

  6. RedChillies says:

    Wonderful recipe and what an amazing nutrition it has. I have seen Rachael Ray use watercress in salads, but never tried it myself. Now I think, I know what to do :tongue:

  7. sushma says:


    This is a new concept for me… i hvnt seen this plant.. :( thanx for sharing

  8. sra says:

    Bee, you don’t grow watercress?

  9. Nabeela says:

    That sounds so healthy…..plus yummy! A combination not to be beat!

  10. sreelu says:

    Hmm excellent combination, always saw these in Asian stores never ventured to try it,may its time now

  11. Rachna says:

    i love watercress salad… with cherry tomatoes …never cooked with it… will def try :)

  12. Nags says:

    never tasted watercress.. looks healthy! i love chick peas!

  13. pelicano says:

    Hey Bee. Love watercress! I like how you retained some of the raw/fresh taste in this dish with minimal browning, and it looks divine. I think I made a tomato-watercress soup a few years ago, seeing this is making me want to dig it out of the archive. BTW, it’s fairly easy to grow…shade, lots of…er…water. :bruised:

  14. pelicano says:

    Nevermind…missed the sapling pic. You’re on top of EVERYTHING! [falls exasperated] :cry:

  15. Anh says:

    I was just thinking of watercress today! Love your photos!

  16. sunita says:

    I love watercress and that’s a nice idea to use it with those chickpeas :yes:

  17. Rajitha says:

    mmm…i love watercress too..i add them in soups..never thought of pairing with chickpeas….will try it

  18. Asha says:

    Watercress reminded me of daity little Watercress and Cucumber sandwiches we used to eat in England!:D
    Chickpea looks yum. I saw Watercress here, expensive!!

  19. Happy Cook says:

    Never thought of using them with chick peas.
    I make soup with it when it is available.

  20. sandeepa says:

    haven’t tried watercress before…looks lovely

  21. Asha says:

    Forgot to tell you! You have been tagged! Check Aroma but do it only if you have time!:))

  22. Anonymous says:

    I can rarely find watercress in the market that isn’t ratty, tough and stringy. Chopping sounds like a great way to tame it. And there’s nothing that chickpeas and spices can’t cure. Thanks, B & J, for your healthy entry for Weekend Herb Blogging. :yes:

  23. Susan says:

    Anonymous, my foot. That last comment was from me. :o hno:

  24. Dhana says:

    I luv watercress in Chinese cooking. Must give this a try!

  25. grihini says:

    I really didnt know about this herb. I should start looking for it..and especially after u mentioned its medicinal value. :) thanks for sharing!

  26. ruchi ch?chu says:

    L’Oeufs for CLICK!…

    Jugalbandi’s Jai and Bee created a food blogging photo competition event extravaganza: Not that I know why I am telling you this, since you not only know all about it, you’ve already submitted your own stunning picture while I have……

  27. richa says:

    chole does go well with greens, watercress must make a good combo

  28. hey…never tried watercress before…will try it now…the dish looks very palatable :)

  29. watercress sounds so interesting . I need to try out more greens.. we are a bit green shy in this household, other than for good old spinach and lettuces..

  30. Namratha says:

    Looks great Bee, had never thought of pairing Watercress with Chickpeas..good combo. I saw Watercress at the IFM this week, but wasn’t sure what to make so didn’t pick it up, maybe next time :)

  31. Am sure it tasted Heaven! They luk v v good…Never knew/aware of this combo! healthy I bet

  32. Latha says:

    Very unique Bee! And it looks delicious too!

  33. Kaykat says:

    Got to love that watercress! I was contemplating planting some indoors – you’ve gotten me kickstarted on that :)

  34. Jyothsna says:

    I was off watercress ever since I once saw a program on TV where it was grown in Vietnam ! :no: Gotten over that now :)

    Ask the mumbai-kars where their spinach comes from :)

  35. curryinkadai says:

    hmm never tried watercress.. ur dish looks yummy!

  36. Kalyn says:

    I grew up with a dad who loved to make watercress sandwiches (mostly because it irritated my mom, who was a “no fuss” type of cook. Anyway, we used to look for it growing wild. I’ve always loved the strong flavor of it, and this sounds like a wonderful way to use it. Great post and beautiful photos!

  37. VegeYum says:

    Thanks for this great posting. Your photographs are fantastic – I really enjoyed them. What a great entry in WHB. I doubt that I could find watercress locally, but mustard greens might work really well.


  38. ammalus says:

    Bee, I have never used watercress except for hair conditoner which had it, I’d love to give it a try.. I cant stand chickpeas for anything in the world…. can I substitute this with any other beans ?

    sure, any beans will work. even dals will. – b.

  39. Lucy says:

    Love the illustration; love the recipe.

    Watercress in a running stream by Hippocrates hospital? That is a wonderful nugget of information. Watercress is one of my favourites.

  40. Mallika says:

    Innovative use of chickpeas!
    Will try it soon!

  41. Love the taste of watercress and didn’t realize all the added nutrient benefit. Thanks for sharing:-)

  42. Maya says:

    Bee, I tried this for the Tried & Tested event and it came out just great..Thanxs for sharing..

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