Once I crossed the 12-week mark of pregnancy, my mum has been faithfully making me a bowl of chicken essence soup every alternate day. She uses a whole chicken (1kg to 1.2kg) from the market and uses a double-boiler to extract the essence. One whole chicken only yields a small bowl as evidenced in the picture above. She uses 童子鸡 (tong zi ji), basically young chicken less than 3 months old as it is supposed to be good and healthier. This recipe was taught to her by a Taiwanese friend who said that it is very good for expectant mothers as it contains no herbs.
Basically, what you see above is 100% chicken essence.
It takes about 7-8 hours to fully extract the essence and if you are concerned about the amount of oil (what you see above was made with a skinless chicken), you can store it overnight in the fridge and the next day, you can remove the layer of oil that would be sitting at the top of the bowl. However, I personally find the amount of oil very manageable.
Tip #1: It is important to drink it PIPING HOT. Otherwise, once it cools down and becomes lukewarm, it has a strong “fishy” taste. I know this is chicken but that’s the best way I can describe it. Ha!
Tip #2: Drink it in the morning or early afternoon. No matter what you do, DO NOT DRINK IT IN THE EVENING or (unless you want to pull an all-nighter) before bedtime. You will probably find yourself energised and too awake to fall asleep. Not good.
I pack the chicken essence to work so that I have it just before lunch. My breakfast drink of choice these days (for the past few months, really) have been Meiji fresh milk and it is a bit too much drinking milk and chicken soup together. This Zojirushi container is super awesome and keeps the soup really hot. You can get it from any good departmental stores (Takashimaya, Isetan, Tangs, etc).
I do not have super strong evidence that ingesting all that chicken essence has made any difference to my body but I can attest that I do not feel as tired throughout the pregnancy. I’m generally pretty energetic and do not sleep particularly early (although I really should!).
Even if you’re not expecting a baby, this is a good recipe to try just to nourish one’s body 🙂