Steamed Chicken Herbal Soup

Steamed Herbal Chicken Soup

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This is a lazy recipe for chicken herbal soup cooked via steaming instead of the usual simmering method. I just came back from holiday and caught a cold, so I was not really in the mood for cooking anything fancy. I was just yearning to drink some nourishing home-made chicken soup but since there is no one to cook it for me, I use this short cut and equally good method to get rich herbal chicken soup.

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For convenience, I used a packet of pre-packed Chinese herbs for stewing chicken soup (in this case I used half a packet for half a chicken). Since less water is used, the soup is concentrated and rich.

Steamed Herbal Chicken Soup

Straight off the steamer

I’m too lazy to cut the chicken so I used a half chicken (butterflied cut) and steamed it together (uncut) with the Chinese herbs, and when cooked, the meat should come off the bones quite easily. I roughly shred the meat using spoon and fork, then transfer the soup and shredded chicken meat into a soup bowl – it really looks more like a stewed soup than a steamed chicken dish when you “repackaged” it this way. The recipe makes two bowls of soup for two.

Steamed Herbal Chicken Soup

Steamed Herbal Chicken Soup Recipe

My packet of stewed chicken soup herbs I bought randomly at the supermarket contains yuzhu (20g), huai shan (20g), dang shen (20g), dang gui (20g), gan cao (15g) and qi zi/wolfberries (16g). Since I am only cooking half a chicken, I measure out half the ingredients and save the other half for another session.


  • half chicken
  • 1/2 to 1 packet Chinese herbs for stewing chicken soup (炖鸡汤料)
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly bruised
  • a small handful of dried black fungus soaked in hot water, drained, discard the hard portion on bottom of fungus & cut to strips
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (reduce the amount if you want less “heaty”)
  • 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine


  1. Place chicken in a wide and deep plate. Scatter washed Chinese herbs, ginger, garlic and cut fungus (if using) over the chicken.
  2. Add water, sesame oil, light soy sauce and Chinese wine. Stir to mix well.
  3. Seal the plate with aluminium foil and cook the chicken on high heat until the water at the steamer is boiling.
  4. Lower down the heat and continue to cook for about 50 minutes to an hour.
  5. Season the soup to taste with salt or soy sauce if needed. Use a spoon to drizzle some soup onto the chicken.
  6. You can serve the steamed chicken dish as it is, or serve the shredded chicken meat and soup in a soup bowl

Noob Cook Tips

  1. To test if the chicken is cooked, insert a fork in the thigh area. If clear liquid (no blood) runs out, it is cooked.
  2. You can also use cut chicken pieces instead of using a half or whole chicken, steaming time will be slightly faster.
  3. You can also use fresh mushrooms such as shiitake instead of black fungus.