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.
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.
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.
The glutinous rice stuffed inside the chicken cavity becomes the softest porridge when cooked.
|Soak glutinous rice in water for 1-2 hours.|
|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.|
|Trim and discard excess fatty skin around the chicken neck and bottom.|
|Clean the chicken by using kosher salt or coarse salt to rub the chicken inside and out. Rinse thoroughly to remove all the salt.|
|Stuff the chicken cavity with one ginseng root (use the smallest one), red dates, garlic cloves and soaked rice.|
|Tie the chicken feet together with kitchen twine (optional).|
|In a soup pot, add chicken, water and remaining ginseng.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 ;)|