Taiwanese Sesame Oil Chicken Soup (麻油雞)

This is a classic Taiwanese dish that my grandmother used to make. I must admit, I didn’t like it when I first had it as a child, but over the years I’ve come to really crave it. It’s a good winter soup that is said to improve circulation, warmth and health (just don’t ask me how). It tastes strongly of alcohol and sesame oil (which is why it took me a while to warm up to it). I can’t guarantee it’s everyone’s favourite, but it’s a classic Taiwanese chicken soup and now I see it as comfort food. 🙂 This recipe came to me from a combination of my dad’s and my grandmother’s recipe.

Serving: 1 big pot


  • 1 cup dried longyan
  • 1 + 4 cups rice wine
  • 8 cm old ginger, sliced skin on
  • 2-3 large chicken drumsticks, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1/4 cup black/dark sesame oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup goji berries (optional)
  • Thin noodles


  1. Soak the longyan in 1 cup of rice wine. Set aside.
  2. Rinse your chicken and pat dry. Set aside.
  3. On med heat, fry the ginger in 1/4 cup sesame oil. Cook until fragrant and slightly brown. (Don’t overcook or else the sesame oil might become bitter).
  4. Add your chicken to the pot. Turn it on high heat to sear until brown on all sides (we don’t want to cook the chicken, just brown the outside so the skin is fragrant, some fats are released, and the chicken will soak up some flavour). You want the skin to be golden-dark brown. Turn the heat down to low-medium.
  5. Pour in 1L (~4cups) of rice wine and 2 cups water. Add the longyan with the alcohol.
  6. Put the lid on and let it simmer under low heat for 45mins until chicken is cooked.
  7. When done, add 1/3 cup of goji berries (optional). Try the soup and adjust flavours as needed.
  8. Turn off the heat and put lid on. Let it sit for 20mins to let the flavours come together. Flavour gets even better the next day.
  9. Cook noodles while you’re waiting for the soup to be finished.
  10. Serve with noodles in a bowl and ladle the soup over. Or alternatively, drink the soup on its own.

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