Is Medicinal Herb-Stewed Black Chicken Good For Your Health?

To some, black chicken is icky. To the Chinese and the Vietnamese, black chicken has been a super-food since the 13th century and is thought to bring many health benefits to the eater.

Among the delightful dishes of Vietnam, there is a dish called “stewed black chicken”. Originating from China, this is now a common dish to the Vietnamese. They believe it is a very healthy dish with significant benefits. However, when asked how it exactly helps, people are confused and unsure. No worries, this article is for you and whoever wants to know more about stewed black chicken. You will learn about what is inside, what the benefits are, and of course, a recipe to make the best 😉

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What is black chicken (silkie chicken)?

So, what’s black chicken? Nope, it isn’t a black-feathered chicken if that’s what you were thinking. Black chicken, aka silkie chicken, has beautiful silky white plumage with black pigments right down to its bones. It looks a bit like an overly fluffy tiny llama, except it’s not a llama and it’s a chicken. They are easily found in Asian countries and tastes just like normal chicken. Asian cooks love them. With deep and gamy flavor, even in the breast meat, it can be used to make different dishes: soup, curry, hot pot etc.

Black chicken
“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die”

The stewed black chicken that we are talking about today is normally cooked with medicinal herbs. As mentioned, the stewed black chicken came from China. Due to the similarity in using traditional medicinal herbs in cooking and the tastiness of the dish, it has become a common dish to the Vietnamese since we love our herbs and veggies. Even if the chicken is cooked with medicinal herbs, you don’t have to be sick to eat it. Many restaurants in Vietnam serve this dish, with noodles or bread, as a meal, or sometimes a hangout dish/beer food.

Benefits of black / silkie chicken

Let’s take a look at the additional ingredients and its individual benefits.

1. Dried wolfberry or Goji berry (Qua ky tu)

black chicken recipe

Wolfberry, or goji berry, is commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine as well as in food recipes in Asian countries such as China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. According to Organic Facts about goji berry, dried Goji berry contains a lot of nutrients that are essential for the human body. Goji berry can help strengthen the immune system, improve eyesight, lower cholesterol levels, and control diabetes. It also provides improved liver health, cardiovascular protection, cancer prevention, and protection of brain cells and the skin from UV radiation.

2. Chinese dried red dates or jujube (Tao tau)

silkie chicken recipe
Sweet and healthy..rare

Red dates or jujube may sound a little bit strange as a fruit name, but to me, it is a cute name. Red dates are very powerful fruits which hoard a lot of nutrients so this impressive fruit will grant you a wide range of positive effects. Some of the most interesting health benefits of jujube are its ability to treat cancer, improve skin condition, relieve stress, aid in weight loss and much more. Girls, just don’t worry. Look at the list of its benefits, you will gain a lot more than just a tiny change in your weight.

Want more proof, check Organic Facts’ article about 10 Best Benefits Of Jujube.

3. Lotus Seed

silkie chicken recipe
Lotus seeds

Yes, you can eat lotus seeds, and they have a lot of benefits too. Lotus seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. They are also low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Lotus seeds can treat insomnia or restlessness, help to restore vital energy within the body and is very good for your kidneys.

(From Benefit of lotus seeds)

4. Job’s tears

benefits of silkie chicken
These don’t look like tears.. (Source

This isn’t a typo. These tiny white seeds are called job’s tears. It’s such an interesting name, isn’t it? Job’s tears can help cure allergies, reduce levels of cholesterol and may also have protective benefits for the gastrointestinal system (The Health Benefits of Job’s Tears)

5. Dang Shen

black chicken recipe

Dang Shen, also called poor man’s ginseng, is an important herb in Chinese herbal medicine. It is mostly used in Western herbal medicine in the form of a tincture. Like any other kind of herbal medicine, dang shen has many good health benefits. It is used traditionally for ailments associated with weakness, fatigue, poor appetite, and anemia. It is also thought to be helpful for diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence and excessive stomach acid. (Dang Shen Herb Uses and Benefits)

6. Mugwort

Black chicken recipe

Mugwort is widely naturalized in most parts of the world. It contains volatile oil, flavonoids, coumarin derivatives and triterpenes. Mugwort is most commonly used to treat disorders of the digestive tract and aid in all digestive functions and is said to have properties that are anti-fungal, antibacterial, expectorative and antiasthmatic. It can also improve appetite and in addition to those, there are so many other benefits that are listed in Mugwort – Health Benefits and Side Effects.

Above are common ingredients that you will see people using while making medicinal herb stewed chicken. Sometimes others will be used and sometimes some of the ones mentioned won’t be used. It depends on the chef’s individual recipe.  Either way, now you know the answer to the question in this blog’s title. What’s even better is that this dish is not only healthy, but also tasty. Combine all these ingredients, you’ve got a dish that can help you with your digestive and immune system, reduce stress, gain back your vital energy and foster your health. I can eat it every day.

7. Benefits of black chicken

The Chinese and the Vietnamese consider black chicken a super-food because of its benefits. Since the 13th century, black chickens have been used in China for medicinal purposes and Vietnam followed.

It is said to help the lungs, blood and stomach. Now here’s a great recipe for you.

Black chicken is rich in antioxidants (carnosince) that help fight off various sicknesses and even have positive effects on ones speech skills, auditory gains, motor skill development and eyesight. The amount of carnosince levels in black chicken is twice the amount found in regular chickens.

These benefits combined with the benefits of the additional ingredients before is why people love eating herb-stewed black chicken. It is said to help the lungs, blood and stomach. Now here’s a great recipe for you.

Herb-stewed Black Chicken Recipe

There are many different ways to make this dish. You can add in some special herbs that you like and get rid of ones that you don’t. Today’s recipe will be stewed chicken with mugwort.

What to prepare:

–    Black chicken

–    Mugwort leaves

–    A pack of the above mentioned herbal medicines.

–    Pig bones (for the broth)

–    Seasoning: salt, soy sauce (optional), pepper, chilies

black chicken recipe
Sugar, spice, and everything nice..

The first step is to clean your chicken and let it dry out a bit. Boil the pig bones for 30 minutes, then put the mugwort in, poach it for 5 minutes and take it out. Keep boiling the broth for another 30 or 45 minutes. Stuff these cooked mugwort into the chicken, then praise it with seasoning and the pack of herbal medicines. Leave it for an hour. When things are ready, pour the broth in and boil it up. Leave it to boil for around 15 minutes under minimum heat. The final step: present the dish in a bowl and enjoy!

Where to find medicinal herb-stewed black chicken in Vietnam 

Stewed black chicken is a common dish in Vietnam. The name is: ga ac tan, ga tan thuoc bac or ga tiem. You can find it throughout Vietnam. Practice your Vietnamese a bit and locals will show you where. If you are traveling to big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, we’ve got your back.

Stewed black chicken – Ga tan in Hanoi

1. Coke can chicken at Mai Huong restaurant, 12 Hang Cot, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.

Coke can chicken

Mai Huong serves 2 main kinds of stewed chicken: black chicken and bantam, and stewed pigeon with mugwort and medicinal herbs. The special thing about this spot is that they cook the black chicken and pigeon in a coke or beer can. When you order, you will get a whole can full of delicious things in it. You can eat the stewed black chicken with instant noodles, fried bread or by itself as it is already tasty.

2. Ga tan 24, 49 Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Operating hours: 5.30pm – 11.00pm

Price: Starting 40.000 VND

3. Quan cay si – Ga tan & chao chim, 29 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Operating hours: 8.00am – 12.00pm

Price: Starting 80.000 VND

4. Ga tan & tiet tan, 38 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Operating hours: 6.00pm – 11.00pm

Price: Starting 40.000 VND

Stewed black chicken – Ga tiem in Ho Chi Minh city

Medicinal herbs stewed black chicken

1. Ga tiem Vinh Hoa, 16 Cao Thang, D.3, HCMC

Operating hours: 8.30am – 11.30pm
Price: Starting 50.000 VND

2. Ga ac tiem, 7 Hoang Dieu, D.4, HCMC

Operating hours: 3.00pm – 10.00pm
Price: Starting 40.000 VND

3. Ga ac & chao dau xanh, 343 Phan Xich Long, D. Phu Nhuan, HCMC

Operating hours: 4.30pm – 11:00pm
Price: Starting 40.000 VND

Healthy, tasty and easy to find, I just can’t find any reason why you shouldn’t try stewed black chicken with medicinal herbs. Now you’ve got the list to go. Let’s head to the closest spot and dig in. Enjoy!

Read more: The Best Clay Pot Roasted Chicken in Saigon

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at the Christina’s blog!