Sunday, September 9, 2012

Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)

Ever since the husband tasted Samgyetang in Korea a couple years ago, he fell in love with this hot nutritious soup. According to the husband, Koreans will drink this soup in the summer to replace the nutrients lost.  He talks about it constantly and is always tempted to order it at Korean restaurants whenever he sees it on the menu. However, due to many other delicious Korean dishes on the menu.. he never really got a chance to order them. He decided to look up the recipe and hey why not make it at home. The recipe seems easy enough and we can get all the ingredients at the local Korean grocery stores. We've made this soup a couple times, and the last after we move to Thousand Oaks. As we happen to have a stash of fresh ginseng in the fridge from our recent Asian grocery store raid and with the inlaws in town... it was a perfect time to make this dish and for the inlaws to taste their son's favorite dish. All we needed to get was cornish hen from the grocery store which was just around the corner. This dish was "In-Law" approved! =)

For this batch of Samgyetang, we cooked in a small traditional Korean clay pot (in fact, I think my clay pots is a size too small.. =P) . If you do not have the claypot, a regular small pot will work just fine. We used Mangchi's recipe this time. On out previous attempts, we used some fresh chestnuts but didn't think that those make too much of a difference in the taste of the soup. Here's the recipe by Mangchi with just a bit of tweaking in the amount of certain ingredients used. Check out her site for an excellent video on the recipe.

*Serves 1-2

  • 1 Cornish Hen
  • 1/4 Cup Korean Sweet Rice
  • 6-8 Cloves of Garlic
  • 6 Jujubes / Dried (Chinese) Red Dates
  • 2 Small Ginseng Root
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion, Chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • Equal parts of salt and grounded white pepper (for dipping)
Soak the sweet rice in water for about 1 hour. Place 1-2 tbsp of kosher salt on the cornish hen and rub the outer skin for a couple seconds, then rinse the salt off with cold running water. Stuff the cornish hen, by placing half of the jujubes, garlic and ginseng first. Then all of the soaked sweet rice. Continue with the remaining ginseng, jujubes and garlic. You can use a toothpick to partially close the cavity so that the stuffing remain inside. 

Place the stuff chicken in a pot.  If you cannot fit all the jujube, garlic, ginseng in the chicken, you can place it in the pot later.  Pour just enough water into the pot to cover the cornish hen, cover the pot and let it boil for 20 minutes over high heat. When it starts boiling, skim off the white foam and fat that rises to the top. Pour in more water if needed to ensure that the cornish hen is slightly submerged in water. Boil for 40 minutes over medium heat. Once it's cooked properly, the cornish hen can be easily pulled apart with chopsticks. 

Serve with the salt and pepper dipping condiment.


June's Notes: If you don't like the traditional salt and pepper condiment for dipping, feel free to use some soy sauce. As the pot I used was a little too small for the cornish hen, I needed to flip the chicken every now and then to let it cook properly. This soup does not need additional seasoning; the garlic, and the sweetness from the jujube, chicken and rice flavors the broth perfectly. But if you like sodium in your broth, a little dash of salt would be ok.

Simply June 


Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this. I remember this from a trip to korea. This is comfort food to the max, we had it on a cold winter day there. I love this spiced variation on chicken soup, so much better than plan chicken

Simply June said...

you're welcome. my husband has been raving about this dish ever since he had it in korea! So, he wanted me to taste this delicious chicken soup!

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