Molecular Gastronomy Experiments: Silkie Black Chicken “Soup” Jelly

black chicken jelly

Black chicken soup gellification. Yeah, this is a solid jelly black chicken “soup” I made for my dear! There’s nothing that sounds more appealing than suspending the beautiful black meat of the Silkie chicken in a jelly with wolfberries, dried scallops and other ingredients usually used in cooking this Chinese soup.

hb ling sick

I came across this idea when my better half had a sore throat and didn’t want to eat any solid food. It’s known as a curative food in traditional Chinese medicine.

silkie chicken

I’ll make her Silkie black chicken soup, with a twist! It’ll be *entirely suspended in clear agar* so you can see the distinctive black meat and black bones of the Silkie chicken!

silkie chicken jelly

You will need:

  • 1 whole black chicken
  • Goji berries
  • Dried scallops
  • Chinese dates
  • Agar or gelatin

silkie chicken flesh

I bought one of the small Silkie chickens you can find in wet markets here. This is the famous black chicken (which is entirely black – bones, flesh, organs) that’s commonly sold here for soup although it can be cooked like a regular chicken. I know of other black chicken breeds out there – a USD 2,500 per chicken Ayam Cemani made the headlines last year, but the ones we get are Silkies (which has contrasting white feathers when alive).

silkie black chicken

You need to portion the chicken by cutting it up as you normally would – there’s eight edible portions (2 x drums, thighs, wings, breasts) plus the carcass. I wrote a guide on how to French cut a chicken last time for a poached chicken with beetroot and nectarine dish I made but you can cut this anyway you want since it’s going into a soup.

black bones

Do make a nice cut for the parts you want visible in the jelly though – I used a drum in one and a wing (minus drumette) with a chicken leg in another.

chicken toenails

Silkie black chickens are always sold whole here, and undressed, so remember to take the pieces of cartilage (?) off the feet. I don’t know what they are called, so I call them chicken toenails. smirk

silkie chicken soup jelly

I put a 1 litre pot of water to the boil and added in all the goji berries, Chinese dates, dried scallops etc. You can also add ginger if you like.

silkie chicken soup

Once the water is boiling, I added in the pieces of chicken and set the timer for 30 minutes. That’s all you need for the black chicken soup – it’s ready to drink (and I did take some out so she can have the soup first).

agar gelatin

Next up, comes the fun modernist cooking bit – gellification! I used agar instead of gelatin since I wanted it to set only when it has totally cooled. I used clear agar but you can try out other colors like blue or green to play tricks with your mind while eating – it’s flavorless anyway, but I reckon clear would showcase the beautiful black chicken and bright red goji berries well.


I poured the agar into the black chicken soup and carefully stirred it before portioning it out. It’s important to remember that the dates, scallops, and goji berries will set so you can actually move it around since the viscosity of the liquid has changed slightly.

black chicken soup

I arranged it so that it’ll come out in one square and one round mould.

setting chicken soup agar

…and my dear accidentally drank one of the agar-infused bowls while it was cooling coz I asked her to finish the soup. Haha! Oops! 😉

black chicken agar

No worries, I still had one and here’s how it turned out after putting it in the fridge for 2 hours to set the agar. It can be helpful if you have sore throat since a cold jelly is probably easier to eat than anything else.

jelly black chicken

I thought it was nice but I could have improved on the dish since my dear had cooked porridge so ideally my next version would look like this:

black chicken jelly draft

Yes, I drew it on a napkin.

jelly chicken soup

It’s fun to incorporate easy molecular gastronomy and modernist cooking ideas to even the most traditional dishes to spice it up! 😀

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28 thoughts on “Molecular Gastronomy Experiments: Silkie Black Chicken “Soup” Jelly”

  1. Chef Huai Bin, you are so creative to invent this version! I used to love this dish in jelly that often served with the 4 Seasons first dish during course dinners. Your black chicken is something new and I salute your determination always to make your darling happy. Sweet guys like you are rare gems! She better polish you well and lovingly. Muahahahaha

    The black chicken gave me goose bumps in your photos and the price tagged at USD2,500 made me faint.

    • Thanks mate! 🙂

      I’ve always wanted to cook different stuff, especially after watching MasterChef!

      Yeah, there’s actually a species of Indonesian black chicken sold in the US for USD 2,500!

    • Thanks Kim! 🙂

      Yeah, it’s a lot of fun doing this, although I think it’ll be better if I had frozen it first then used muslin cloth to sieve the iced soup for better clarity!

  2. OH WOW! this is very very cool. i feel like you totally belong on masterchef! haha. please join & make us all proud!!!

    btw, that’s the bloody problem with YouTube. it’s always making people take down videos, deleting accounts/videos, etc. elliot rodger is the 20 year-old responsible for the latest shooting case in Isla Vista. he was half malaysian. very very sad.. maybe you could google? i’ve updated the link for the video.. but yeah. who knows that’s going to be available for. heh.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence! 🙂

      I don’t think I’ll get past the audition stage though and I don’t want to compete in MasterChef Malaysia since I don’t cook Malay dishes and I don’t believe you’ll be a good cook if you can’t work with all available proteins, especially such an important one like pork.

      Oh, I get who he is now! The virgin guy that went a bit nuts and started attacking people.

  3. whoa, you’re getting to be incredibly audacious in your cooking … i LOVE your latest kitchen escapade! very unexpected, very bold, very original … it might be time to seriously start considering starting a private kitchen for paying customers! Sixth Seal Supper Club sounds good, and you can let your creative juices run wild 😀

    • Thanks Sean! 🙂

      I have thought of that before but will need to do a pop up at a place that offers such facilities and I don’t know if I can cover the costs after inquiring at the place I know that does offer such services.

    • Hmm…I don’t personally believe in the concept of heat or cold. 🙂

      I just eat anything even when I’m sick. Haha!

  4. Oh, I thought jelly is only for sweet desserts.. never thought make chicken soup with jelly too… is it effective? I drank lots of cooling water including fresh coconut without sugar or ice … it helps also to gurgle with salt water at least twice per day…

    • I wanted to experiment with savory dishes! 🙂

      I heard of a place which serves savory gelato ice cream with hot dishes and I want to go this weekend!

      Thanks for the tips Reana!

  5. When my mum makes chicken mushroom stew & left over night in the fridge, it turns jelly like too coz of all the natural collagen frm the skin (not the fats, fats were removed).

    There was one lady friend, she likes to boil pigs head/face w.ears etc. to make some kinda of jelly dish. It is ricb w.collagen & whn in cold solid form, u can’t even feel the oil. Last heard pig collagen dishes were a hit in New York as natural collagen booster.

    Anyway since your dear has sore throat :).
    Tried to boil some sea birdnest /coral seaweed jelly.
    Once boiled & disolved, add some lemon juice & shaved some lemon peel into it.
    Optionally can add rock sugar/honey.
    Good way to add some vitamin, sooth the throat + collagen 🙂

    • Thanks Mei! 🙂

      Yeah, I love cooking once in a while, it’s a lot of fun although my better half is…er, better at it.

    • Haha! You’re absolutely right mate! 🙂

      I have been watching a lot of Heston – his new take on British food (Season 2) is very good, especially the chocolate one.

    • I have had modernist cuisine where they use cold elements for savory dishes and it works out great! 🙂

      Hey, even traditional dishes can be cold and savory like Japanese soba noodles.

  6. I boiled chicken essence out of two black silkie chicken and they jellified even without those agar agar powder when kept in the fridge. But I dont eat them cold lah. I reheat it into soup again before drinking.

    • Yeah, they will coz of the natural gelatin! 🙂

      I didn’t want that though, I have done that before and it’s cloudy and doesn’t look nice.

      I wanted this to be clear so I made it like a consomme and filtered it so it’s see-through. It makes for better presentation so you can see the black chicken and dates and dried scallops through the jelly.


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