Nourishing and warm, Sesame Oil Chicken Soup is rich with ginger, rice wine, and black sesame oil. We like to cook this on cooler days and when we're feeling under the weather (it's also a popular postpartum dish). We always feel so good after drinking this soup, it warms you from head to toe!
I first learned learned about Sesame Oil Chicken Soup when it was prepared for me postpartum. It is a classic Taiwanese postpartum dish called Má Yóu Jī / 麻油雞. The many nourishing ingredients in the soup is believed to replenish, warm, and heal the body.
The soup was so delicious that I kept drinking it months later, and now it's part of our regular repertoire of soups. Everyone in the family loves it! Think of this as chicken soup, but extra special ^_^
We love soup and always have a big pot of soup (or jook/congee) cooking away in the family kitchen. If you're looking for more soup recipes, try other favorites like Oxtail Soup and Portuguese Bean Soup.
This is essentially a chicken soup with ginger recipe, but a unique one. It requires a few less common ingredients like black sesame oil and Taiwanese rice wine (Michiu). You can find both ingredients at Chinese markets and they are worth seeking out. Here's what you'll need:
- Chicken thighs and/or drumsticks - We usually use thighs, but you can also use drumsticks or a mix of both. If you have a whole chicken, you can cut that up and use a whole chicken too. No wrong way to go about this part. Just make sure it's all bone-in pieces.
- Black sesame oil - You can replace this with regular/white sesame oil, but it won't be quite the same.
- Taiwanese rice wine (Michiu) - Do not substitute any other type of cooking wine.
- Goji berries
- Green onions
See recipe card (at the bottom of this post) for quantities.
Now let's get cooking!
Clean the chicken pieces and pat dry. Set aside.
Pour the black sesame oil into a big soup pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the julienned ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes till the ginger is fragrant.
Add the chicken thighs and/or drumsticks to the pot. Brown on both sides. Depending on how big your pot is, you might need to do this in two batches.
Once the chicken is browned, add the rice wine and water to the pot.
Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Cook on low heat for one hour, till the chicken legs are fully cooked and very tender.
Season the soup with a little salt. Stir in the goji berries.
Then ladle the soup and 1-2 pieces of chicken into each individual bowl. Top with the sliced green onions. Eat and enjoy ^_^
Hint: I always serve this with a bowl of rice on the side. This sesame oil chicken soup plus rice makes a beautiful and complete meal.
Many recipes on our blog are flexible when it comes to substitutions. This recipes is not one of them 😉
The black sesame oil can be replaced with regular sesame oil (though it's not ideal).
Do not omit or substitute the Taiwanese rice wine (Michiu). This is a key ingredient and the soup would not be the same without it. The recipe uses the entire bottle of the rice wine, so you definitely want this exact ingredient.
We use chicken thighs, but you can use a mix of any chicken parts or cut up a whole chicken.
Goji berries and green onions can be omitted, but they help to "complete" the dish.
How To Serve Sesame Oil Chicken Soup
Easy! Serve this with a big bowl of rice on the side.
When I'm eating a solo dinner, I put rice in a big soup bowl and then ladle the soup and chicken right over it. So very delicious. Turn on a good movie and I am set for the night!
If you would like more "stuff" in the soup to make it feel more complete, try adding cabbage and tofu.
You can also add glass noodles and turn this into a noodle soup dish!
All you need is one big soup pot. This would ideally be a heavy bottomed pot so that you can brown the chicken pieces nice and evenly.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can reheat in the microwave or the stovetop, whichever is easiest for you.
Make sure to cook the soup on low for a full hour to make sure that most of the alcohol from the Taiwanese rice wine (Michiu) cooks off, otherwise you'll end up with a very boozy soup 😉
If you find that the soup is still too strong after an hour, feel free to continue cooking the soup and taste it every 15 minutes. Keep the lid on so that all the water/broth doesn't evaporate.
This soup plus a bowl of rice is a complete meal. But if you want to round it out, I like to serve simple vegetable dishes like Bean Sprouts Stir Fry, Bitter Melon Stir Fry, or Chive and Egg Stir Fry.
You can still make this recipe without browning the chicken, but it adds tons of depth and flavor to the soup. It's one extra step and might also get your kitchen a little messy from the oil splatter, but it's worth it!
Try making this Ginger Fried Rice! As you can see, ginger is a key ingredient in many postpartum dishes ^_^
Sesame Oil Chicken Soup
- Clean the chicken pieces and pat dry. Set aside.
- Pour the black sesame oil into a big soup pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the julienned ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes till the ginger is fragrant.
- Add the chicken thighs and/or drumsticks to the pot. Brown on both sides. Depending on how big your pot is, you might need to do this in two batches.
- Once the chicken is browned, add the rice wine and water to the pot.
- Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Cook on low heat for one hour, till the chicken legs are fully cooked and very tender.
- Season the soup with salt, we usually add 1-2 teaspoons. Stir in the goji berries.
- Then ladle the soup and 1-2 pieces of chicken into each individual bowl. Top with the sliced green onions. Eat and enjoy ^_^