Born for this…

This really very delectable dish is actually for mothers during their 30-day confinement period after the delivery of a baby…

Kacang Ma 1

Locally, it is called kacang ma. It is a Hakka specialty where chicken is cooked with a lot of ginger and white wine…and used to be more commonly enjoyed by people in Kuching. Among the predominant-Foochow population in Sibu, the women will usually eat mee sua in chicken soup with ang chiew (Foochow red wine) and ginger instead.

I did not cook this though. Actually I was planning to so that day but my friend beat me to it. He and his wife are actually from Kuching and the missus is due to give birth to their third child in early November. Since the eating of kacang ma is not as widespread here, they are afraid that the confinement lady may not be able to cook it, so the onus is on the hubby to master the skill and cook it for the wife while she is in confinement.

It certainly looks like he did a pretty good job…

Kacang Ma 2

…and when the time comes, you can guess who will be dropping by the house uninvited to help the missus finish the kacang ma. LOL!!!

Kacang ma is actually the leaves/herbs. I did not know the English name for it until I chanced upon this recipe book featuring many of the special Sarawak dishes including Foochow mee sua and ang chao meat…and even fried midin (jungle fern). Then only did I know that it is actually called motherwort herb…

Kacang Ma recipe

I googled and found this piece of information:
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca [Latin]), also called leonurus, lion’s tail, and heartwort, has been used to treat heart disease and depression for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recommends motherwort to promote longevity and treat menstrual disorders. Today motherwort is still recommended by herbalists for treatment of heart palpitations and anxiety, and to encourage normal menstrual cycles.

Recent studies performed in China have shown that motherwort helps prevent blood clots, relax the heart muscle and lower blood pressure. Motherwort contains lionurine and stachydrine, alkaloids that not only help lower blood pressure but also have a sedating effect on the central nervous system, which supports motherwort’s traditional use as a treatment for depression and anxiety.

Gee! It certainly has a lot of benefits! I didn’t know that…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

45 thoughts on “Born for this…”

  1. LOL… confinement? I took pizza hut’s large pepperoni pizza for my confinement. *pengsan* My logic: As long as certain food gives energy… I’ll recuperate, and pizza is loaded withe energy!

    Poor thing… But old people believe that there are hot and cold foods and in confinement, the latter should be avoided. Take stuff to warm up the body inside – that’s why a lot of ginger…or else later on, when older…a lot of problems will arise. This pain, that pain…everywhere pain.

    1. me too didn’t get to have chicken wine during confinement…haiz…now backache liao

      No ginger too? *shakes head* Young people today – dunno what’s good for them. Some not even 1 month confinement – 1 week already driving out…gone shopping. Women today – memang cannot tahan stay at home one. 😦

  2. It is an acquired taste for many. Quite a few dig it for its alcohol content haha. And kudos to the husband ! Very few men would actually step into the kitchen to look, rather than cook for food :-p

    I love both the taste and the alcohol. That is why if it is some watered-down version, forget it. It is only nice with lots of liquor and lots of ginger… Yum! Yum! Ya…she is blessed with such a good hubby. Unlike the previous two pregnancies, this ones seems pretty bad…so guess who has been doing the cooking, the laundry, the housework…everything! Ah well! I told him…he asked for it. After all, he is the one responsible for her condition. LOL!!!

  3. Cikgu… send me some of the stuff… I bet they work better than prozac… kakakaka….

    ps: Do they taste like dong guai?

    Send to you? The leaves, no problem… The white wine in a bottle, how to send? Hakka specialty…lots of Hakka restaurants sprouting up in West Malaysia – maybe they serve this? Very hard to describe the taste. Let’s just say it’s an acquired taste…and once you’re hooked, you’re hooked for life! Yum! Yum! So very nice. Hehehehehe!!! Gosh! You’re on medication? Prozac?

  4. good morning STP.. this is indeed something new.. never seen or tasted it before.. but anything for confinement, I m in.. 🙂

    You? Confinement? No more lah… Muahahahaha!!!! But just eat for enjoyment, ok lah… Hehehehehe!!!!

  5. Definitely good for depression. After eating mabuk, everything forgotten!! Your friend can give you now since the wife cannot eat yet!

    Yalor…she’s not supposed to eat but I heard she tak tahan – curi2 ate a bit! So tham ciak! Muahahahahaha!!!!

  6. aiks ginger!! I’l skip this thank you.

    You don;t like ginger? Aiyor…lots of health benefits!!! I guess you’ll just stick to ginger biscuits…and ginger beer (with whisky). LOL!!! 😉

  7. kacangma has health benefits? that’s good to know! Haha! I love this, especially on cool, rainy days. Think this dish will feature in the pre-KNB wedding gathering on Friday night.

    Aha!!! Looking forward to that! Yum! Yum! TOC’s house aircon…so no problem, hot or cold. LOL!!! 😉

    1. Venue change to Sophia’s mum’s house liaw. TOC’s mum feeling a bit under the weather.

      Yup…I saw that on Facebook. So “Sophia” is picking me up at the airport instead…

  8. Wahh you also in confinement ah? Eating confinement food.. 😛 But you’re right, my mom also told me that women in confinement MUST follow a strict diet else they’ll have lots of problems when they get older.

    Me? No! Mine, at least 9 years overdue…still not time yet! Muahahahahaha!!! You’re in the family way? As far as I can see, only Saucer’s the one with the bulging belly! ROTFL!!! 😀

  9. wow…the hubby is so sweet !!!

    I love ginger but not wine. I did not eat proper confinement food because I can’t take wine. I will go mabuk. Now I have backache. Not sure if they are related. sob sob……

    Ya, nice guy…so lucky, she! Backache? Hmmmm….possibly! Must take warm foods…none of the cold or cooling stuff. Definite no-no!

  10. I love this dish – even put in 2tablespoon of Martell…like what Gundot say – mabok..haha. Its not easy to get good wine here. What wine you use and where can you get in Sibu. Price?

    That white wine you can get in the shops – the one with the very “Chinese” label… This friend of mind also gave me a bottle… Been keeping it for a few months now, dunno nice or not. I used the red wine he gave me to steam chicken:
    – not bad but sweet…not like our Sibu ang chiew.

  11. kacang ma, i heard the name before, but see or taste it. Now i know how it look like. Taste nice?

    Nice! Hmmm…Foochow, true and true – never tried this before. Next time you come back to Sibu, I cook for you to try lah. Or better still, come to my house for dinner, I cook all the nice nice things for you. Hehehehehe!!! 😉

  12. ahhh! i love this one! haha i still remember after mom delivered my lil sis, i think me d one enjoy this soup!! mwahahaha

    Your mum ate? You’re Hakka? Nice hor? 😉

  13. i like ginger chicken cooked without the rice wine, whenever it comes with the wine i will not eat that.. that’s why my mum used to cook two pots, one with wine for the rest and one without wine for me.. haha!! 😀

    Wah! You good boy, don’t take even a bit of wine in your food kah? Much of the alcohol would have evaporated in the cooking process… 😉

  14. Yes…. my favourite dish. Wish I had lots of this during my confinement. But I was quite happy too with the red wine and mee suah. I must bring some of this dried herbs here when I go back the next time. 🙂

    Ya…they sell the dried herbs in bottles. Have to dry fry and then pound/blend. This part can be quite messy… That’s why I don’t cook this dish – my wife does. She loves it a lot and she can cook it very well – semua kau-kau! 😉

  15. Aww,
    I’m craving for it now!!!

    LOL!!! Go home, ask your mum to cook. I’m sure hers would be really really nice – she can cook so well. 😉

  16. Howcome Bananaz got no chance to eat this kacang ma even though we are Hakka (I mean curi makan from my mom)? During confinement we love to ‘invade’ and tumpang the wine chicken from mom but she said little kids cant eat else become naughty woh and we believed it. What a great say to deter us from eating haha…

    Maybe got concentrated wine – not good for children, so your mother did not want you to eat. Usually, for kacang ma, no water added – just the wine and the ginger juice. I will usually add a bit of water…or else, sure drunk after eating. LOL!!! You Hakka…and you’ve never eaten this? Maybe only the Hakka people in Kuching? Like our Foochow mee sua – so many over there also not familiar with it…and they say the Sitiawan ones not the same, not nice.

  17. Can remember mom would always stay in her room without fan..but nowadays hospitals provide aircon in the rooms..Guess older folks are right in their way as to keep warm. Got to know of a Taiwanese lady who didnt follow tradition no confinement for her and goes out just as normal after giving birth but later got admitted to hospital for pneumonia. Heard durians are good for ladies in confinement how true?

    Yes, last time, when mothers were in confinement, the room so hot and stuffy and smelly – windows all closed. These days, they all use aircon liao – dunno good or bad. Durians? Dunno…but imagine in that enclosed room, I can imagine how smelly it can get! LOL!!!

  18. aiyo, the hubs cooks for the wife during confinement! Dream come true… soooo nice! william can only cook maggie for me, itu pun tak pass 😛

    i oso like confinement food.. 😀

    So kesian one, your William. Never mind. He will have to pay for the confinement lady then. Easy to get one there? How much? Must be very expensive. Here, RM2K-3K, depending on whether staying in or not…and so difficult to get. The good ones – booked well into next year…or the next!!! Good income, non-taxable some more!

  19. lot of ginger i like n can eat it all from the soup…hehe…i ate this kacang ma too mean i wil have menstrual in order too? :p

    Ya…you’ll have regular periods, no heavy flows, unless you’re pregnant! 😉

  20. Ooo that would be so comforting in winter. my gran makes a mean pot of kacangma….proper loaded with booze..makes me break out in hives..but so worth it. lol

    Yup…like when my missus cooks it! I’ll be giddy all day – probably from the wine and possibly from the “heatiness”. But I love it! Prefer having it on cold, rainy days…; I will not end up soaking wet and dripping in my perspiration. LOL!!!

  21. Eeeeeek…. my childhood nemesis. Mum tried to force me to drink Kacang Ma but they always ended up in her.. haha… i don’t like the herbal smell =( i guess the YOUNGER ones are not used to these traditional delicacies.. haha

    You must try again. Give it a second chance. The first time I tried long ago in Kuching, I did not like it too… Hehehehehe!!!!

  22. This is nice. I mean, we are truly blessed by God to be surrounded by plants that were made to heal our illnesses. Motherwort is amazing and seems like a good addition to dishes.

    Yes, I often see the dogs or cats going to eat certain grass when they’re sick… All of God’s goodness is all around us…

  23. yeah lots of soup for mommies, i still take in as much soup and fluids to keep me lactating well since I’m still nursing

    Ya…here, it’s chicken soup…every day! LOL!!!

  24. I truly love kacang ma and foochow mee shua!

    You’ve got good taste – the best of the Hakka and the Foochow… 😉 Btw, your first time here, I see. Welcome and thanks for dropping by. Do come often.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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