Watercress with Rice Wine-Oyster Sauce

February/March 2005

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

In this healthy Asian vegetable stir-fry recipe, watercress is cooked then tossed with traditional Chinese oyster sauce. Use a salad spinner so the watercress is dry to the touch, or the stir-fry will become too wet. If the watercress is young and tender, stir-fry the whole stems. If the stem ends are woody and tough, discard them.

"Very tasty dish, I had it as a main course. Enjoyed it over a bed of rice with some toasted sesame seeds. The sauce tasted great mixed in with the rice. "
Watercress with Rice Wine-Oyster Sauce

Makes: 4 servings

Serving Size: about 1/2 cup

Active Time:

Total Time:


Rice Wine-Oyster Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine (see Tip) or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons oyster-flavored sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Watercress Stir Fry

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 24 cups watercress (14 ounces or about 6 bunches) or 16 cups spinach, tough stems trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. To prepare the sauce: Whisk rice wine, oyster sauce, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  2. To prepare the watercress: Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl canola oil into the pan, add garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add watercress and stir-fry until it just begins to wilt, about 1 minute. (The wok will become very full as the watercress is added; stir constantly to avoid scorching the greens.) Stir the Rice Wine-Oyster Sauce and swirl it into the pan; stir-fry until the watercress is just tender but still bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in sesame oil. Remove garlic. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the sauce (Step 1) for up to 1 week; wash and dry watercress up to 4 hours ahead.
  • Shao Hsing (or Shaoxing) is a seasoned rice wine. It is available in most Asian specialty markets and some larger supermarkets in the Asian section. If unavailable, dry sherry is an acceptable substitute.


Per serving: 104 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 1 g total sugars; 5 g protein; 1 g fiber; 285 mg sodium; 674 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (146% daily value), Vitamin A (130% dv), Calcium (25% dv), Potassium (19% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 0

Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat

More From EatingWell

Recipe Categories

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner