Mama Tong's Recipe for Ji Tong (Black Chicken Herbal Soup)



Here is a recipe for a classic Chinese soup that is traditionally served to a woman who has recently given birth, to restore her strength during the post-natal period. (Recipe courtesy of Jane Lin of Mama Tong, by way of Oakland: New Urban Eating.)


3 lbs. ginger sliced ½” thick

1 gallon of rice wine

2 gallons of water

1-2 black chickens (Silkie variety)

5 lbs. chicken bones (it’s a good idea to use a cheesecloth to wrap these bones; it makes it easier to remove them before eating the soup)

1 cup dried red dates (also known as jujubes)

½ cup dried goji berries

¾ cup longan fruit (dragon eye fruit)

2 oz. dried snow fungus (also known as tremella)

3 oz. fresh wood ear mushrooms

½ cup raw peanuts, shelled (optional)

  • Jane Lin


1. In a big pot, bring rice wine, water, ginger, the whole black chicken, and chicken bones to a boil and simmer for four hours.

2. Rehydrate dried red dates, goji berries, longan fruit, and snow fungus. Trim snow fungus into smaller pieces and discard hard stems. Drain.

3. Remove the chicken bones from the soup. Remove the head and feet from the black chicken. (Keep the rest of the chicken in the soup.)

4. Add rehydrated and drained whole herbs, fresh wood ear mushrooms and raw peanuts (if using) to the pot and cook for two more hours.

5. Add salt to taste.

6. Eat the soup with the chicken meat on the bone. Avoid or discard the ginger (or not, if you like ginger).