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Homemade Chicken Essence

by Kelly
Homemade Chicken Essence with only a steamer!

If you grew up in an Asian family, you most likely have some experience with drinking chicken essence, such as when you fall sick, before and after sporting events, before job interviews, before exams, after failing said exams and your parents want you to become smarter, etc… But most of the store-bought chicken essences I’ve tasted were usually bitter, which made me hate drinking it despite the many many health benefits.

So I tried making homemade chicken essence, but most of the recipes I’ve found require either chicken pounding, a double boiler, more than 2 hours of steaming, or wasted chicken meat that becomes too dry to be eaten. Nonetheless, I eventually found this amazingly easy recipe that solves all these issues, and it tastes better than any store-bought chicken essence I’ve ever tried!

Firstly, here’s a little background on chicken essence. This wholesome elixir has a long history of use as a remedy for various ailments like colds and flu due to its warming and soothing properties, and as a general health tonic that can help boost the immune system, aid in digestion, and promote overall well-being, especially when consumed during times of illness or recovery. It has been cherished for generations in Asian families, and is frequently offered as a gesture of care and comfort to friends and family during times of illness or distress, or offered to mothers during the postpartum period to aid in recovery and strengthen the body.

This Homemade Chicken Essence recipe requires the use of plastic wrap to protect the chicken essence from water vapour arising from steaming. Some people may be concerned about the use of plastic wrap in steaming (or cooking in general), for fear of chemicals or toxins being released into the food. From what I’ve researched, it is completely safe for this dish, as long as:

  • You’re using food-grade plastic wrap that is microwave-safe and has a heat tolerance of 110°C (230°F) or higher.
  • The steamer has an open vent for steam to escape, ensuring that the temperature in the steamer never exceeds the boiling point of water (100°C / 212°F), thus avoiding any build-up of pressure in the steamer.

Cases of melting plastic wrap are usually caused by the plastic wrap coming into direct contact with heat sources (fire from the stove, oven heating, etc.) or fatty foods (which can melt the plastic). Neither of these are applicable to this recipe, and the use of a food-grade microwave-safe plastic wrap with a higher heat tolerance should doubly ensure that no melting occurs.

With just 3 basic ingredients and 1 hour of waiting, you can make your own tasty Homemade Chicken Essence in its purest form, nourishing both your body and soul, while saving money from store-bought brands! You can even save the steamed chicken for another dish (which I will write about soon), so there is absolutely zero wastage! So let’s get to it!

Watch How To Make It

Homemade Chicken Essence

Prep Time3 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 3 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: easy recipe, steamer
Servings: 1


  • Steamer


  • 4 chicken legs skinless
  • 2 inch ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Find a large bowl that can fit into your steamer. Drop in the ginger and salt in the middle of the large bowl, and cover them with a rice bowl.
  • Place the skinless chicken legs around the rice bowl.
  • Wrap the bowl with food-grade plastic film to prevent the steam’s water vapour from dropping into the bowl.
  • Steam for 60 minutes over medium heat.
  • Remove the wrap, then chicken, open the bowl and serve up the pure chicken essence!
    Pro Tip: Let the soup cool for 10-15 minutes before you flip open the rice bowl. It is piping hot!


  • This method is for people who don’t have a double boiler, like me 🙂
  • I used whole chicken legs because dark meat remains tender after steaming for 60 minutes, so I can save the chicken for another recipe!

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