I’m doing this post for a dear secondary school friend of mine who is expecting, and will possibly have to have husband (or someone else) prepare all these dishes after the little one comes along. I think a lot of mums this year end up having their little ones without their parents around, so maybe this might be helpful to others as well. I’ll put all the recipes up here as it’s easy to refer to. Congratulations to T again and again 😉
For those of you who are reading this and wondering what confinement means – it’s the 30-days post-partum where chinese mums stay home to recover and tend to the baby and themselves, and someone else (typically, their mum/mother-in-law/auntie) will prepare nourishing dishes that is good for them and the baby. In some East Asian countries (i.e Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China..) you can book yourself into a confinement centre – it’s like a post-partum hotel where they take care of you completely – food, massages, all. Pretty good huh 😉
Due to the current ‘situation’, my mum had to write all these recipes down this year, so our nanny could prepare it for us. She also got dad to film herself cooking it and sent a million videos over whatsapp, haha. She’s amazing. Thank goodness for technology. Confinement food varies across the different cultures, and even within the chinese culture itself. The food here is my mum’s modified version of the Malaysian hakka confinement food. Here goes :
- Get 2 kg of ginger ready
- Brush and wash a handful, cut into pieces and place into the blender
- Squeeze the juice out and freeze it into ice-cube containers. Make sure it is covered within the freezer (use a glad wrap above it)
- Fry the blended ginger in a hot wok under high heat, until it becomes crisp and dried. Store it in a container.
All, if not most dishes use ginger. With the prep you don’t have to waste time mincing ginger. You can just add the dried ginger into the dishes, and then add in 2-3 cubes of frozen ginger juice. You end up consuming all the ginger which is good for you.
- Swirl Sesame Oil into hot wok.
- Pan-fry chicken/pork (1 kg/10 pieces)
- Add in dried ginger (2 tablespoons) + light soy sauce
- Add in hot water (about 150 mL)
- Add in White/Rice Wine (50mL) + Ginger Cubes (4)
- Reduce heat to simmer
- Add in red wine 50mL (prefer DOM)
- Swirl Sesame Oil into hot wok.
- Pan-fry chicken (1 kg)
- Add in kachiama spices (3 tablespoon) & dried ginger (3 tablespoon)
- Add in White/Rice Wine(100mL) + Hot Water (200mL)
- Cover lid, and add in Ginger Cubes (2) until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Add in 80mL Red Wine/Dom and turn off the heat.
- Slice the meat open (chicken drums/thighs) and marinade with turmeric powder and sesame oil, light soy sauce, dried ginger (2 tablespoon), ginger cube (1) + red sugar
- Pan fry until cooked
- Add two tablespoon of Red Wine/Dom
Red Paste Chicken
- Marinade cut chicken (1 kg/8-10 pieces) with 1 tablespoon of red paste (hong chao)
- Swirl in Sesame Oil
- Pan-fry Marinated chicken + 2 tablespoon of White/Rice Wine
- Add in chinese mushroom (prepped, soaked) + Water
- Add in dried ginger (1 tablespoon) + Ginger Cube (3)
- Add in 1 cup of Red Wine (Dom)
- Low heat, simmer
Other than the above, there is a popular pork leg dish cooked with ginger and vinegar that is common in chinese confinement food. We
were lazy to find don’t know where to get that in Dubai so we never actually cooked that. We also had lots of fish – steamed with sliced ginger, sesame oil, light soy sauce, spring onion – typically sea bream or sea bass. Teriyaki salmon – again with lots of ginger. Cha siu pork ribs – extra ginger, Sticky hoisin pork ribs – extra rice wine and ginger, you get the drift 😉 Eye fillet is fine too.
For all soups, use the ceramic pot so you can place it in a big pot for double-boiling
Chicken Herbal Soup
- Double boil Dang Gui + Astragalus for 20 minutes
- Add 2 pieces of chicken drums + Red Dates (4) + Goji Berry (4) + Dried Longan (4) and double boil for another 20 minutes
Chicken Ginger Soup
- Double boil 2 pieces chicken drums + Ginger (2) for 20 minutes
- Add in 1 teaspoon White Wine when ready
Depending on number of people in the household and the usual amount of rice you eat. In our case it was 3 cups so we’ll have 2 cups white rice + 1 cup brown rice + 2 tablespoon or red beans.
Soak the red beans and brown rice in water for an hour or more before cooking it in the rice cooker with the white rice.
If you want it to be more ‘red’, just adjust the proportion of red/brown vs white.
I had a thermos where I had a continuous supply of red dates + dried longan + hot water. This I kept next to my bed so I could always drink before/after a feed, and basically anytime I wanted to. I drank this for an entire month, haha. No plain water. You can also add in goji berries.
Before bed, a little glass of Dom as well. So good 😉
I’ll review the details slowly and update it if it’s not clear – I’ll try and find more photos to add as well 😉
Did you do this for your confinement period? What did you have?
2 thoughts on “Chinese Confinement Dishes – Mum’s Recipes”
Thank you for the wonderful recipe. May i know what is kachiama spices?
Hi! Kachiama or Kachiangma is a traditional hakka spice. My mum got it from Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysia). Where are you from? If you google kachiagma you will be able to see what it is – I believe in english they call it Motherwort Spice.