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 around, my 2nd pregnancy has been somewhat different, especially being preggers and caring for another child. Well, toddlerhood is a new story altogether, isn’t it? So, I decided to take my health matters into my own hands and made this really easy Black Chicken Soup with Essence of Chicken recipe for myself!

Truth be told, my health hasn’t been the same. Our family was hit by a virus that targeted both Vera and me, 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, or other brands of chicken essence)


  1. Blanch chicken in boiling water and pour water away. Set chicken aside.
  2. Fill pot with enough water to cover chicken completely, and allow to boil. Reduce to low fire to simmer for 1 to 2 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 1.5 hours, 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 chili.
black chicken soup with essence of chicken for pregnancy recipe
Pregnancy tonics need not be expensive, but if you’re unsure, always check with your gynaecologist or TCM physician before taking them. This off-the-shelves Essence of Chicken is commonly taken by mums throughout pregnancy, but always seek professional advice, if you’re unsure.

Alternative method – Cooking Black Chicken Soup with Essence of Chicken 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 :) Plus, I wouldn’t need to worry about watching the fire, or check regularly to see if my soup dries up like when it’s cooked over the stove :P

There are also other methods of cooking soups such as double boiled herbal chicken soups, but I wanted fuss-free with minimal things to wash. Hehe. BUT! My confinement nanny did use the use the double boiled method to prepare the black chicken soups during postpartum. There was alcohol too, so…. haha!

I remember taking these bottled 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 was what 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 of chicken essences on a daily basis during confinement too! HA!

Benefits of Essence of Chicken

black chicken soup chicken essence 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.”

What is black chicken soup good for?

Erm, because my mum says so! HAHA! Honestly, most Chinese families would recommend black chicken soups for its nourishing benefits. Like when I was burning the midnight oil for exams, my mum would prepare either a black chicken soup, or make me drink bottled Essence of Chicken :P

According to researchers, black chicken is rich in antioxidants which helps to maintain good health, prevent sickness and common colds. The antioxidant that is found in black chicken is called Carnosine. High concentrations of Carnosine is good for muscles and nervous system. It also offer higher levels of irons, minerals and vitamins and nutrients than regular chicken. In TCM, black chicken helps to boost our immune system too.

Pregnant mums should also check with their TCM physicians to find out what Chinese herbs to avoid during pregnancy and confinement, should you decide to buy some from the medical halls. And eating well during confinement should be a priority so that new mums can restore and rebuild their health again.

If you’re looking to try other soups that are suitable for pregnant mamas, browse my herbal soup recipes here! :) Hope they come in handy and offer some bowls of comfort too :)

So there you have it, mamas! Pregnant and breastfeeding mums can try this simple and easy way to cook pregnancy tonics too! A note though, do 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! I hope you enjoy this really easy yet nutritious Black Chicken Soup with Essence of Chicken recipe too!

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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