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Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang)

Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is a wholesome chicken soup consumed in Korea during the hot summer months. It is nourishing and helps in replenishing the fluids lost in the hot weather.

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In Singapore, I get to enjoy this soup all year round, since it is basically summer here everyday. This is a really simple recipe with just a few ingredients.

Fresh Ginseng
To me, it’s really important to use fresh ginseng to make samgyetang. The dried ones I tried were “heaty”, expensive, and lacking in aesthetics & taste. After a long search for fresh ginseng in Singapore, I finally found them (see picture above). I used one packet for one chicken in my samgyetang recipe. They look and taste great, and very affordable at S$3 per packet. Read more about where to buy the fresh ginseng in Singapore here.

Samgyetang Recipe
I served my Korean ginseng chicken soup with multigrain rice, kimchi & seasoned spinach. I feel a sense of satisfaction pulling off a simple but complete home-cooked Korean meal :D

Samgyetang Recipe
The glutinous rice stuffed inside the chicken cavity becomes the softest porridge when cooked.

Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) Recipe

Step-by-Step Pictures

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Printable Recipe >>
Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) Recipe Soak glutinous rice in water for 1-2 hours.
Fresh Ginseng (Samgyetang Recipe) This is fresh ginseng I use it in this recipe. Make small, superficial slits on the surface of the ginseng to release more flavour during cooking (the market auntie taught me that). Be careful not to cut through the ginseng, you want to keep the whole root intact for better presentation.
Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) Recipe Trim and discard excess fatty skin around the chicken neck and bottom.
Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) Recipe Clean the chicken by using kosher salt or coarse salt to rub the chicken inside and out. Rinse thoroughly to remove all the salt.
Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) Recipe Stuff the chicken cavity with one ginseng root (use the smallest one), red dates, garlic cloves and soaked rice.
Samgyetang Recipe Tie the chicken feet together with kitchen twine (optional).
Samgyetang Recipe In a soup pot, add chicken, water and remaining ginseng.
Samgyetang Recipe Cover with lid and simmer for up to an hour (depending on size of your chicken). If you simmer too long, the chicken may disintegrate, and in samgyetang, you want to serve the chicken whole for better presentation.
Samgyetang Recipe This is what my samgyetang looks like after cooking. The broth is clear and rich. If you used too much rice, the soup will turn milky instead.
Samgyetang Recipe Optional: Transfer contents to a hot stone serving bowl, heat it up just before serving so that it is hot and bubbly at the dinner table. And it looks more professional, too ;)

15 comments on “Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang)”

  1. What a delicious meal! The soup must be very fresh and flavourful.

  2. Glutinous rice in ginseng soup is new to me…and I would love to try it…this is a very comfort dish.
    Hope you are having a great week Wiffy :)

  3. I hv always wanted to learn this recipe. Tqvm. I hope i can find thise fresh ginseng in Malaysia. Btw i read those print next to the step by step pictures. Thumb up.

  4. You really make cooking the entire meal sound so easy :)…I also like Korean ginseng chicken soup but have not cooked it at home. before. I think I still have something I bought previously that packs the dried ginseng, dates, glutinous rice together and I have not used it yet!

  5. The korean ginseng can only be found at tiong bahru wet market? Don’t they sell it at those korean supermarket, eg shine korea?

    • Referring to fresh ginseng, Shine only sells dried ginseng in a samgyetang prepack (tried it and wasn’t to my liking). Hoping that if someone sees the fresh ginseng elsewhere, they can share it with us here so that we have more than one place to get this.

    • Manage to get it at Sheng Siong @ 200 Woodlands Ind park

  6. Will it be possible to replace with white rice instead of glutinous rice? Or will you recommend I do not put any rice if I don’t have glutinous rice?


  7. Hi, I bought my fresh ginseng for $10 per packet.
    Instead of using salt to clean chicken, can I parboil it for a few minutes. ?

  8. Am cooking this tonite, I managed to buy fresh ones in Busan.
    Recipe is simple however u didn’t specify the number of garlic cloves and jujubes.
    Thanks anyway.

  9. Was at Giant, Vivocity earlier.. there is fresh ginseng available. You can find in at the chiller section where you pick up your packet salad veg.

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