Homecooked Chicken Essence

Once in a while, my mum would home brew chicken essence for us. It beats all the brands out there. New Moon, EYS, Brands…. Mum’s brand is the best! Recently I had a friend who asked in passing, how to make chicken essence at home? I never knew how! My mum has been doing it all along! Thus I got my mum to prepare a portion for me. To 补一补, and also so I can then share with my friends how to do so.


First of all you would have to buy 1 whole chicken. At the market, get the seller to “tok” (smash) the bones for you. The chicken will still be in one whole piece as the flesh is still connected, but the bones are smashed. Note that not all chicken sellers will do that for you though. So find one that doesn’t mind that extra effort, usually for regular customers. Prepare also some dates, wolfberries and ginseng if you want. I don’t like to put ginseng in as after I drink it in the evening I am unable to sleep! But it is good if you are tired and want that perk me up.


1. Put the water in the steaming pot to a boil. Turn it to low heat. (Or you can just pour freshly boiled water into the pot.

2. Add in wolfberries/dates and ginseng(optional) to the main ceramic pot. Cover the herbs with an overturned bowl.

3. Dip the chicken in some boiling water. My mum did say that this step is optional. But she likes to “rinse” the chicken to wash it as well as to make it cook faster. This process is only for about 30 seconds to a minute. Chicken is not supposed to be fully cooked though the outer parts would have changed colour.


4. Place and position the chicken spread out over the overturned bowl, ensuring the entire chicken is in the bowl.


5. Cover the ceramic pot with a plate so that the steam will not seep through.(If not you will just get chicken soup instead of chicken essence.


6. Cover with the pot cover and bring the water to a boil at high heat for about 5 minutes before turning it back down to very low heat.

7. Keep the water boiling at low heat for about 2.5h. (fresh chicken can be about 2h, frozen and thawed at about 2.5-3h) Check once in a while to ensure that there is still water in the pot.

8. After 2-3 hours, turn off the heat. If you open the pot cover and remove the plate immediately after you have turned off the flame, you can see that there is liquid in the pot which you can see seeping through into the bowl. In this picture, most of the water has seeped through with some left outside still probably because the bowl is full. Every chicken gives a different amount of essence. Kampung chicken usually have less. Leave this to stand for about 15 minutes so the herbs can really work in the essence.


9. After 15 minutes after turning off the flame, remove the chicken and the overturned bowl. It helps to slide it out sideways. And there you have it! Chicken essence with red dates and wolfberries!


This whole chicken is for just 1 bowl of chicken essence goodness. 🙂


For the chicken, yes you can still eat them by dipping into light soya sauce or tearing some to put into the chicken essence to eat together. The breastmeat would be very dry already though. So you might only want to eat the thigh meat. All the goodness are already in the soup!

Have fun trying! 🙂


11 thoughts on “Homecooked Chicken Essence

  1. I remember this!! My mum used to make this for me. Hmmm.. think I should ask her to make it for me again. Hahaha.. she’ll probably ask me to make it for her instead, which is fine, since it looks so easy. Thanks for sharing!


  2. My mum used to make it this way! I have totally forgotten about this.. It’s still too much work for a lazy person like me. I’m not a traditional/chinese herb person, but if I really need chicken essence, I’ll buy the packaged ones 🙂


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