Kacangma or Motherwort Chicken

Kacangma or Motherwort Chicken

Kacangma or Motherwort Chicken
(益母草姜酒鸡)a dish unique to Sarawak or so I thought when I was much younger. However I have since found that this herbs,
Motherwort (益母草) is a herb that is NOT only indigenous to Sarawak but have been used in traditional medicine for centuries in China, Greece and North America.

I consider myself a greedy foodie as I love food and I love eating. Every time I travel I must ask the locals where they eat, I must visit their bookshops and find cookbooks on local cuisines and local history.

I have since introduced Kacangma to a few friends and I am happy to report that they all loved it. Maybe it’s the entire bottle of sherry I used? 😀

Just a few simple ingredients, not hard to cook and yet so good to eat. I am so lucky that my Mat Salleh hubby enjoys it too.

One can consider this dish a Chinese version of the French Coq Au Vin. In fact my girl friend in France cooks this with white wine!

Kacangma is normally given to women as a confinement dish after giving giving birth. It is to prevent post-natal depression, reduce anxieties, regulate menstrual cycle, and promote heart health.

We were told not to take this during menstruation as it can make the bleeding heavier and also not to eat this during pregnancy. Kacangma herbs also interact with some heart medication like sedatives so if you are in this bracket please don’t take too often or use less herbs.

In Sarawak the Teochews and Hakkas cooks this with tons of ginger to restore physical health and improve circulation.

I am eating this today to errr…..for physical health, to restore circulations and to keep me warm but as for the hubby……… 😀 😀 😀

Kacangma Chicken (益母草姜酒鸡)


  • 1 small Corn fed chicken
  • 500 g Ginger or more
  • 1 litre bottle Sweet Sherry
  • 3 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 30 – 35 g Kacangma for a small chicken or more
  • Salt / soy sauce to season to taste


  • First pound the ginger and the keep the juice and ginger residue separately. 
  • Then chop your ready washed chicken into small bite size pieces. (your choice)
  • Heat up your wok (today I am using my new Danube pot) and dry fry the kacangma. There’s no need to wash the kacangma! Remove and set aside.
  • Next dry fry your ginger residue till fragrant and set aside. 
  • Then add in your sesame oil and chicken. Fry the chicken for about 5 minutes before adding in the ginger residue and kacangma. 
  • Give everything a good toss before adding the ginger juice and sherry. Bring to boil and let simmer for a good half hour. Taste and season before serving. 


Note – this dish in only using ginger and kacangma. Please do not be tempted to add garlic or spring onions or woodears or mushrooms cause that would be an entirely different dish, NOT kacangma. What can I say? I am a purist? 😀
Note – you can use other protein but to me it has to be chicken or nothing. 
I suppose like all special well known dishes every household must have a different way of cooking but this is my way.
Please feel free to mix rice wine with glutinous wine and even cook with the Teochew red wine.

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