Black Sesame Oil Chicken Soup 麻油雞湯

This is the most representative and famous winter soup of Taiwan food culture!

First, a little back ground. Chinese people categorize food into three groups: cold, warm and hot. This is NOT by temperature, but by how the nature of the ingredients affect your "chi". It's a complicated and deep philosophy about when and who should stick with certain groups of food. But to make it simple, if it's cold outside, you want to eat "warm" or "hot" food, while you stick with "cold" or "warm" foods in the summer. Warm food is neutral, so most of the time, it's safe for everyone to have it at any time.

The key ingredients for this soup are black (dark) sesame oil and ginger, both of which are considered "hot" foods. Although this soup is perfect for winter, we don't just eat it during winter! There's one occasion when we will eat it almost everyday, whether it's summer or winter. It's for women after giving birth. There's a big "one-month" tradition in our culture, where our main goal is to pamper new moms and make sure that they have great nutrients to recover from labor. During the first month after a woman gives birth, there are many things that she can't do or eat, also many things that she has to do and eat. For example, a woman who just gave birth can't drink anything cold. Some people are so extreme that they don't drink any tap water or even wash her hair. I know!! It sounds gross, but there's a whole lot of theory and history that back this up. Now, let's just focus on the food that she actually CAN eat. The black sesame oil chicken soup is one of the few foods that she is supposed to eat all the time during the "one-month" after giving birth. This just shows you how hearty this soup is!

When you read the ingredients or watch the video, you will notice that I did't mention or put in any salt. I didn't forget it. For the most authentic recipe, we don't add salt because the flavor is naturally amazing! And in the video, I mentioned that the soup is "sweet". Not that sugary sweet. but the kind of sweetness that comes from really fresh ingredients. It's a sweetness that you don't necessarily taste on the front part of your tongue, but develops at the back of your tongue! It's the ultimate gourmet UMAMI taste that Chinese people crave. So, please don't be mistaken that this soup is sweet. It's not! It's definitely a savory dish, but finishes with a pleasant, natural sweetness. Sounds unbelievable? You just have to give it a try to know what I'm talking about! It's very simple to make. Cook time is only about 30 mins..


Chinese Rice Wine x 2 Bottles*
Chicken x 1 (Curry cut)
Thinly Sliced Ginger x ⅓ cup
Black (Dark) Sesame Oil x ½ cup


1. Heat the oil and the pot with medium high heat.
2. Add in sliced gingers and sautéed until gingers are curled up and dark brown on the edge.
3. Add in chickens, sautéed till color's changed.
4. Add in rice wine, bring to boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.

*Rice wine can be replaced with chicken stock partially or completely.


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