From Bump to Baby Kitchen Experimenter

Pregnancy Tonics: Black Chicken Soup with Essence of Chicken Recipe

Pregnancy can be a challenging journey for some. And this time round, it has been somewhat different, especially being preggers and caring for another child. Well, toddlerhood is a new story altogether, isn’t it?

Truth be told, my health hasn’t been the same. Our family was hit by a virus that targeted both Vera and I, and she had just started childcare then. Of course, I can’t be certain that the new environment led to it, but one thing for sure, both of us have been falling sick every couple of months, and that’s pretty worrying :(

During pregnancy, expectant mums need to be mindful over their diet and certain foods should be avoided, especially when it comes to using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) such as herbs. Having had enough of medications, I decided to send out a plea to ask my fellow mummy friends if they had any recommendations on tonics to build health during pregnancy.

My simple requirements: they have to be safe for the pregnancy and easy to prepare (read: idiot-proof)!

So a kind friend took time to text me some recipes she had during pregnancy, as well as soups that she has been making till now for her family, including her preschooler. Yours truly picked the most readily available option and went with it! Thank you, R, for sharing! :)

Black Chicken Soup with Essence of Chicken Recipe

~serves one


Half black chicken – wash and remove skin

Half a bowl of water, or enough to fully submerge the chicken

1 bottle of Essence of Chicken (you may also use other variants like the ones with cordeyceps)


  1. Blanch chicken in boiling water and pour water away. Set chicken aside.
  2. Fill pot with half a bowl of water and place chicken in to boil. Reduce to low fire for simmer for one to two hours. Do remember to watch the water, just in case it dries up. Water will reduce overtime, so it’s completely expected.
  3. After about 1.5hours, pour the Essence of Chicken into the soup and continue simmering under low fire for another hour.
  4. Once ready, switch off fire and serve with chicken. Salt or seasoning is not needed, but you may add if preferred. Black chicken can be eaten on its own, or simply dipping with some light sauce and cut chilli.
pregnancy tonics
Pregnancy tonics need not be expensive, but if you’re unsure, always check with your gynaecologist or TCM physician before taking them. These off-the-shelves Essence of Chicken are commonly taken by mums throughout pregnancy, but always seek professional advice, if you’re unsure.

Alternative method – using slow cooker:

Simply put chicken, water and Essence of Chicken altogether in slow cooker, start with high until boil. Reduce to low and simmer for a total of 2 hours. Serve as desired.

>> The only reason why I opted for the pot instead because my slow cooker is large size and I was only planning to cook a single portion. This would have been a more convenient method to cook according to what you need with the size of slow cooker that you have :)

I remember taking these Essence of Chicken during my last pregnancy, and one of my husband’s friend had also shared a tip: down a bottle on the day of delivery for extra energy boost! Which i did on the wee morning my water bag burst! Read my birth story here!

Come to think of that, I was downing these bottles on a daily basis during confinement too! HA!

Benefits of Essence of Chicken

tonics for pregnancy
TCM Practitioner, Karen Pek, shares advice on drinking Essence of Chicken as tonics for pregnancy. Image credit:

While Brand’s does not address directly the query if their Essence of Chicken is suitable for pregnant and lactating mothers, their FAQ page talks about the use of their berry products for this group of consumers.

Above snapshot is the advice from TCM Practitioner, Karen Pek, addressing a mum’s query if it’s okay to drink Essence of Chicken every morning now that she’s in her 2nd trimester.

Karen Pek advices, “…. chicken tonifies the internal organs and boosts Qi energy. It is important to ensure that Qi energy and blood is in harmony to ensure a smooth pregnancy.” Her concluding note? “Always consult your doctor and physician before taking any health supplements or Chinese herbs.”

So there you have it, mamas! Pregnant and breastfeeding mums can try this simple and easy to cook pregnancy tonics too! A note though, go easy on the frequency, as some people feel that Essence of Chicken is heaty. So monitor your own body, adjust accordingly and eat in moderation!

Pregnant mums, are you taking any pregnancy tonics to build your health? Please do share some easy recipe ideas with me too! :)

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