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Cooking With My Mother-In-Law: Steamed Herbal Chicken With Huiji Waist Tonic

DIY, Fun Stuff, Recipes
December 5, 2014
Composed by : Bun Bun


They say too many cooks spoil the broth so with me behaving like a bulldozer in a China shop in the kitchen, I stood out of the way and enthusiastically watched whatever my new mother-in-law was doing.

My sole contribution to this cooking fest was using eye power and documenting the recipe so that I may one day cook this dish on my own when Mr Mode and I have our own home.

Nothing beats home-cooked food, really. That feeling of coming home from work, and being told “dinner’s ready” is the best thing one can hear, every day. So while I am still living with my parents-in-law, let me learn all I can! 😀

This Steamed Herbal Chicken with Huiji Tonic is surprisingly easy to make!

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • Half chicken
  • Sesame oil
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Ginger slices
  • Black fungus
  • Lily buds)
  • Huiji Waist Tonic

As you can see, there are absolutely no measurements for the spices and condiments coz when mothers cook and you ask them how much to put, they say ‘agak-agak’.

I tried to press it out of my mother-in-law and she finally said ‘maybe about half teaspoon for the sesame oil and pepper, one teaspoon of ginger slices’. (How to measure ginger slices in teaspoon?)

You also need to soak the dried black fungus and dried lily buds in water to soften and rehydrate them before use.

ike dried mushrooms and black fungus, you will have to soak them in water to soften and rehydrate them before use – See more at: http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2011/11/steamed-chicken-with-black-fungus-and.html#sthash.NEKpfqUW.dpuf
ike dried mushrooms and black fungus, you will have to soak them in water to soften and rehydrate them before use – See more at: http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2011/11/steamed-chicken-with-black-fungus-and.html#sthash.NEKpfqUW.dpuf


Go to the market and buy half a chicken, request to have it chopped into smaller pieces (it’s only at markets that you can do personalized requests). I learnt that if you want to cook curry chicken, you need larger pieces. For this dish, use smaller pieces.

Wash and marinate the pieces with sesame oil, pepper, salt, ginger slices, and Huiji Tonic. My mother-in-law left it for 15 minutes. Actually I think the longer the better, maybe next time I’ll try 1 hour, or even overnight as shown by some recipes online.


Then mix in the black fungus and lily buds.


I must confess this funny fact. I asked her what is the name of this (holding up lily bud) and she said something in Hokkien. Lol. So I wrote down ‘vegetable that is tied in a knot’. Then I Googled this whole term ‘vegetable that is tied in a knot’ and discovered that it’s called ‘lily bud’. Lily buds are also known as golden needles, which is called ‘gim zam’ (金针) in Hokkien.

Steam for 15 minutes.

And DONE!!



Super easy!

Some recipes show that you can add the waist tonic AFTER the food is cooked, to get a stronger herbal taste. If you like the dang gui taste (I LOVE), you should totally add a cup or 2 more, coz the dang gui taste would evaporate from being cooked.


Also on the menu were curry fish head, and lotus + pork ribs + peanut soup. The soup was mega yums, I think I downed about 2 litres of soup. It also seemed to be very easy to make. I read that some people pour the Huiji Waist Tonic into soups to make it more nutritious and tasty.

Is it weird that I love eating confinement food?

I love food such as sesame oil chicken, ginseng chicken, pork with ginger, basically anything that has lots of ginger and tonics.

I think the reason why I love food that increase body heat so much is because I am ALWAYS FEELING COLD. Before I moved in with Mr Mode, I slept with the fan on, the air-con was hardly used. But with the air-con in Mr Mode’s room set at 23 degrees, I have to bundle up in double-layered sweat pants, his thick jacket, and socks. At the same time, he’s in boxers. -_-”

My hands and feet suffer the most, and my parents always say I am ‘qi’ deficient, ‘yang’ deficient, energy deficient, this deficient, that deficient. :(

I’ve tried other kinds of bottled tonics before like DOM but I didn’t like it that much coz it burnt my throat and stomach. It gave me headaches too. I felt as though I was nursing a hangover; I have very low tolerance for alcohol.

I’ve heard about this Huiji Waist Tonic over the radio for years and I’m glad to have finally tried it at my in-laws’. Besides maintaining a proper diet, tonics rich in medicinal properties can strengthen the body, boost constitution and enhance blood circulation. (Copied from the box haha). Instead of buying herbs from here and there, might as well just buy one bottle of tonic.

It  has all the good stuff that I like – dang gui to promote blood circulation to enhance liver and kidney functions, ginseng to enhance energy levels, cordyceps to alleviate fatigue and improve overall well-being, and duzhong to restore physical strength.

I like that it’s so versatile too! I drink it on its own, 20ml in the morning and 20ml at night; or have them poured into food and soups to make them more nourishing and tasty! It is made with 100% natural premium herbs, no cane sugar nor alcohol added (YAY), and suitable for vegetarians.

I wanna buy one for my mama too. ^_^*

Have you tried to add any herbal tonic in your food before?