The Chinese have this one-month confinement tradition for new Moms. During this time, the Mom is supposed to stay at home and rest, eat only certain types of food and avoid taking a shower.
I'm no expert in confinement food but the only thing I heard is that one should use lots of ginger and sesame oil in the food. This combination of ingredients is supposed to expel "wind" in the body as well as to restore the health of the mom after a physically-tiring birth.
Well, I bought a book on confinement food but only tried a few recipes. And nope, I didn't follow all the do's and don'ts of confinement. If you recall, I even ate sushi on the day I left the hospital. haha.
Anyway, the point of this post is that confinement or not, some of the dishes are really yummy. They taste like the regular Chinese meals that I cook but even better, because I use sesame oil instead of the regular cooking oil.
This recipe uses both ginseng and wolfberries which can be found at Asian stores. Ginseng is a tonic used to boost energy levels and reduce stress while wolfberries are very good antioxidants and are loaded with nutrients.
Hubby, (hear this) LOVES it too! The first time I cooked it, I was pleasantly surprised that he told me that I could cook this anytime. The chicken meat is so tender that it falls easily off the bone. The rock sugar neutralizes the somewhat bitter taste of ginseng to result in a very aromatic and tasty meal.
And since this is a confinement meal, it's done in 3 easy steps - taking into consideration the amount of time and energy of a new Mom. Love it! :)
- 1 whole chicken (cut up to the various parts)
- Sesame oil (4 tbsp)
- Ginseng (当归), 5 slices
- Ginger (sliced), 25 grams
- Water (500ml)
- Rock sugar (5 grams)
- Wolfberries (枸杞), a handful
1. Fry ginseng and ginger in sesame oil until fragrant.
2. Add in chicken and stir-fry for a few minutes
3. Add in water, rock sugar, wolfberries and salt. Bring it to boil, then lower flame and simmer until dry. (Estimate about 1 hour)
(Or if you prefer it with gravy like me, let it simmer until sauce has reduced to the amount desired).
Source: Adapted from "Authentic Nyonya confinement food", by Chef Ricky Ng