Homemade Chicken Essence

Chicken essence is the juices from the flesh and bones of chicken. It is extracted by double-boiling the chicken in high temperature for about three hours. The extract contains highly nutritious active components like protein, peptides, mineral, trace elements etc.

My search on food that boost energy led me to chicken essence, a traditional Chinese supplement. So nutritious and valuable, this liquid gold is normally reserved for the sick, new mothers and students who are about to face major exam.

My mother told me that during her after birth confinement (a practice where new mothers stay indoor for a month), she had a bowl of chicken essence everyday. It was so important to my family that my late grandmother will buy few chicken daily to make chicken essence and other nutritious dishes! Up till now, my mother always credit one of the reason to her robust health to good confinement (a positive outlook in life being another).


  • Stock/soup pot x 1
  • Large porcelain bowl x 1
  • Small porcelain bowl x 1
  • Plate to cover large porcelain bowl
  • Pestle



8th June 2015
: 4
: 10 min
: 3 hr
: Medium


  • 1 Chicken, small, preferably free-range (skinned and cut into big chunks)
  • Step 1 Pound chicken pieces with a pestle, crushing both he flesh and the bones.
  • Step 2 Put smaller bowl, upside down, into the bigger bowl.
  • Step 3 Place pounded chicken over the smaller bowl.
  • Step 4 Cover big porcelain bowl with a plate.
  • Step 5 Place the entire bowl in a stock pot.
  • Step 6 Pour water into the pot until it covers half the bowl.
  • Step 7 Cover the pot and double boil for 3 hours.
  • Step 8 Remove bowl from pot and gently remove chicken pieces.
  • Step 9 The essence of the chicken will drip into the smaller bowl.
  • Step 10 Strain and ccoop liquid into serving bowl. Serve hot.


Pound chicken chunks to crush the flesh and bones. Place chicken into a large bowl lined with an up-side down smaller bowl. Cover and steam the entire large bowl in a large pot for 3 hours. Remove chicken. Strain essence into a bowl.


Originated since the Ming Dynasty, chicken essence is a health tonic that is now proven to have positive effect on recovery from fatigue caused by mental overload (source: Nagai, Harada & Nakagawa 1996). For over 600 years, the Chinese has been consuming the tonic for strength and vitality.

The recipe passed down from one generation to another. When I asked  mother how she learned to make it, she said in a matter-of-factly manner “There is no need to learn. Every woman knows how to make it”. Although it is time-consuming, I am pleased to find that it is rather easy to make; it is a matter of assembling things. All of the things that we need are easily found at home.

If its’ too much hassle, you can also buy pre-made chicken essence in bottles. Check out a list of bottled chicken essence.

Do you consume chicken essence?

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