Thursday, 8 October 2015

Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) 韩式参鸡汤

I like anything herbal. My husband is quite my opposite. He abhors anything herbal. He would most likely turn his back on any herbal soups that are too rich, too flavourful. I used to scratch my head when brewing tonic soups for him as there's high probability that I end up finishing the soups myself. Therefore, I really felt like I hit the jackpot when he told me he liked the Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) 韩式参鸡汤 that I made this evening.

My literal translation of Korean Samgyetang : Sam=参=Ginseng. Gye=鸡=Chicken. Tang=汤=Soup. It is vastly different from Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup whereby the soup is overpowering by flavours from different herbs. Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) 韩式参鸡汤, on the other hand, is light and refreshing. With the use of Ginseng, a well-known booster for energy and immunity system, the soup does not compromise on its nutritional value even with no other herbs. Soup and flavour aside, the Korean version beats the  Chinese version hands down on the retainment of tenderness in chicken meat and ease of preparation with just few simple ingredients.

By the way, do use a whole chicken when making Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) 韩式参鸡汤 would appreciate it when you get to try the stuffed rice cooked in the cavity of the chicken.

Ingredients (enough for 4 pax with steamed rice) :

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  • 1 whole kampung chicken/free range chicken (cleaned and drained)
  • 1 fresh ginseng root (available from markets or traditional medicinal halls)
  • 6 cloves garlic (pressed)
  • 3 slices ginger (shredded) 
  • 4-5 large red dates/Jujube 
  • 1 stalk spring onions or cilantro/coriander
  • 4 tbsp glutinous rice (I replaced with Japanese rice grains as I have problems digesting glutinous rice due to gastritis)
  • 1.5 litre water

Seasonings : 

  • salt (to taste)
  • chicken stock powder (to taste)
  • white grounded pepper (to taste)

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Method :

Stuff 3 to 4 tbsp rice into cavity of chicken. Do not stuff to the brim as rice would expand during the cooking process. Leave some space in the cavity.
For rice to have better flavours, insert 2 cloves of garlic and 1 red date as well.
Use bamboo skewers to seal the cavity. This would contain rice in the cavity during boil.
Lay whole chicken in a soup pot together with all other ingredients.
Add 1.5 litre water. Bring to boil at high heat. Once water boils, turn to medium heat and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes (subject to size of chicken). 
Add seasonings to taste. Transfer soup and chicken to serving pot/bowl. Remove skewers from chicken and top with cilantro/coriander garnishing when serve.
Serve hot. The rice in the cavity would be fully infused with flavours and aromas from the chicken and us a delightful experience. 
The chicken meat remains tender and tasty if we control the timings and heat well.

Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) 韩式参鸡汤 - a tonic soup that is refreshing yet satisfying. 


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