The silkie chicken soup is a healthy, nutrient-rich savory soup with a touch of sweetness ideal for cooler weather or when you’re under the weather!
Ever heard of Chinese Silkie Chicken Soup (乌鸡汤)? It is made with silkie chicken, an unusual-looking bird that has black skin and fluffy white feathers. The Chinese name of the chicken Wu Ji can be directed translated as “dark chicken”, referring to its unique skin color. This breed of chicken originally came from Jiangxi Province and has been around for thousands of years. The bird might look different from the typical chicken you’re familiar with, but it has tons of benefits and makes the most delicious soup.
Revered throughout China for its health benefits, this soup is something women eat after giving birth. Parents also make this simple, nutritious soup for their children during exam season because they believe it to keep them in the best health. Speaking of health, like chicken soup in America, silkie chicken soup is used to help boost immunity and maintain one’s wellness.
You can find silkie chicken at an Asian market or purchase online at Pasture Bird.
In addition to the great benefits of the silkie chicken, this soup has other ingredients in it that are ideal for good health. Ginger is one of them. A known anti-inflammatory, ginger is good for keeping illnesses away and adding that perfect flavor. I also include jujubes in my recipe. Jujubes are great for your digestive system, help regulate blood pressure, provide lots of vitamin C, and are very calming for the mind.
Goji berries rich in antioxidants and nutrients. They’re good for improving immunity, giving skin a healthy glow, keeping blood sugar stabilized, detoxifying, and bringing a good mood. They’re also what couples longing for a baby eat because they help promote fertility. It also has corn on the cob and shitake mushrooms in it which gives it even more depth. Corn is known for giving good eye health. Shiitake mushrooms are yet another immunity booster, one that give you good cardiovascular health and lots of vitamin D.
So, lots of healthy ingredients are in this simple soup. It looks quite elegant with the brilliant pops of color from the corn, jujubes, and goji berries contrasting with the black silkie chicken and the dark shiitake mushrooms. The broth gets a dark brown color from the chicken, and it takes longer, but the results are worth it. You get a broth that outshines any other chicken broth you’ve ever made.
Using a Dutch oven makes the soup taste even better. You can use any large pot if you don’t have one, but I’ve found the cast iron gives it the best flavor. Once it’s finished, you can eat all the ingredients in the soup though if you’d prefer not to, you can remove the chicken and other ingredients and drain the soup prior to serving. The chicken starts off tougher but after all this simmering in these ingredients, it becomes extremely tender and falls right off the bone. You may prefer to drink the broth on its own and serve the chicken on its own platter as I do. I love to enjoy it with homemade dipping sauce.
Before cold and flu season gets here, make this soup to keep you and your family healthy. You can also freeze the excess for when someone starts feeling ill to help get them well again.
Other delicious Chinese soup recipes
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Chinese Oxtail Soup
- Chinese Egg Drop Soup
- Napa Cabbage Soup with Meatballs
- Lotus Root Soup With Pork Ribs
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Silkie Chicken Soup (乌鸡汤)
- 1 (1.5 lbs / 680 g) silkie chicken
- 1/3 cup dried jujubes (Optional)
- 6 shiitake mushrooms (or 4 dried shiitake mushrooms)
- 1 tablespoon Goji berries
- 1 small corn on the cob
- 1 thumb ginger
- 6 cups water
- Combine everything in a small dutch oven that’s just large enough to hold the chicken. Add water to cover the chicken. It’s OK if some of the chicken is above the water.
- Cook over medium-high heat until bringing to a boil. Turn to medium low heat. Skim the surface with a fine sieve to remove the brown bits, for 10 minutes or so, until the chicken broth is clear. Simmer covered for at least 1.5 hours, up to 2 to 2.5 hours, until the chicken turns very tender and almost falls off the bones.
- All the ingredients in the soup are edible. But for a clear broth, you could remove the chicken and drain the soup before serving.
- The chicken meat will be quite tasty as well. I prefer to serve it with some homemade dipping sauce.
Questions and Reviews
I love all your recipes! Do you have more recipes that are used for women postpartum? My due date is in two weeks and hope to see more Chinese soup/dishes recipes that are traditionally used for women right after giving birth. Thank you!!
So healthy!!! I’ve known the silkie chicken full of so many nutritious benefits for a long time but never really tried it. I think first I’m going to order one in a Chinese restaurant and see how it fits me xo
This is so simple and sounds like the perfect cooler weather comfort food. I’ve never cooked with a silkie chicken, but have seen them many times int he market. I need to take the plunge and buy one for this recipe!
I love this soup so much! My first time making it and turned out amazing! Definitely tasted better the second day. I love all your recipes on here thank you!!
If you overdo the chicken and boil for about 3 hours? Please give me advice on how you determine that the chicken is ready. Thank!
The chicken is ready when it turns tender and you can easily pull apart the chicken leg from the body.
What kind of dipping sauce do you use for the silkie chicken? Can you post a recipe?
Hi Wendy, I have a few dipping sauce recipes here: http://omnivorescookbook.com/dumpling-sauce/
I personally always use the northern style sauce (the 1st one) because it’s so easy to make, and I love the second one as well!
This looks like something I’ve had at a restaurant. Wilm try to make it today or tomorrow!
This sounds really good I can’t wait to make it. my only question is do you remove the head in feet first?
My chicken did not came with heat and feet but you can totally include both in the soup.
My go to recipe for silkie chicken! Always a hit with the kids 🙂
My sister-in-law just survived stomach cancer a couple of months ago and still has a feeding tube. I’d like to make this soup for her as she slowly transitions to solid food. Would this be safe food for her, as in, it wouldn’t mess up her chi or something? She’s not allergic to any kinds of foods. She’s having a lot of trouble putting weight back on and she suffers from chronic nausea from the residual chemo. I’m hoping this nutrient-dense soup will help her. My Chinese dad suggested I make it in large batches and freeze it for her since she lives an hour away; it would be hard to give her a regular supply otherwise. Thank you!
I think this should will be fine. Silkie chicken is one of the most nutritious foods and it is often used to help patient recovering.