Samgyetang | 삼계탕 | Ginseng Chicken Soup

My first homemade Samgyetang. We used to have Samgyetang at restaurants but today I decided to to try to make my own since I have some dried Korean Ginseng which my father bought from Dongdaemun last year. 

Korean will eat Samgyetang in summer especially during 삼복 (Sam-bok) - which means 3 hottest day in summer according to lunar calendar. The 3 hottest day are 초복 (Chobok, beginning of summer), 중복 (Jungbok, middle of summer), and Malbok (말복, end of summer).  Korean believe that after eat this hot boiling Ginseng Chicken Soup on these hottest days and sweat profusely is good for health. 

About the Ingredient

  • Spring Chicken is use to cook Samgyetang - small, young chicken that less than 30 days old, around 400-500g. You may use regular chicken (usually weight 1kg and above), which can be shared among 2-3 persons as more ingredient is needed to stuff inside the chicken. Also, regular chicken meat might not as chewy as spring chicken. 
  • You can obtain Samgyetang Ingredient Pack (refer to pic below) which has jujube, glutionous rice, vetch milk roots, and some medicinal herbs inside. Ingredients might be vary depending on the product brand. However this is NOT include Ginseng root, you need to get Ginseng root separately.   

  • Ginseng root are able to get from local Korean marts here in KL. My parents bought some frozen ginseng root weight around 100gm at around RM18 to RM25 at Seoul Mart when they visit us in June. 

Ingredients (for 2 Serving):

2 Spring Chickens (400-500gm each)
Glutinous Rice - 1/2 cup
Ginseng Root - 2 roots
Jujube or Red Dates - 8 pcs
Garlic Gloves - 8 gloves
Spring Onions - 2 or 3 stalks

How to Cook: 

Step 1. Soak the glutinous rice in cold water for an hour, strain and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients :- Ginseng root, red dates, garlic gloves and spring onion. Chop the spring onion - white part will be use for broth, while green part will be chopped thinly for garnish later.

Notes: Korean normally will cut away the growth tips on the “head” of ginseng root when cooking Samgyetang as it is believed that the growth tips are very “heaty" and may upset the balance of the “Qi” in human body. Here I wasn't able to cut off the tip due to I am using a dried ginseng and it is too hard to cut off. 

Step 2. Wash the chicken inside-out thoroughly under running water. Trim off extra fats at the bottom. Rub salt all over the chicken inside out to get rid of smell, rinse thoroughly and dry it with kitchen towel, set aside.

Tips: Keep the tail and chicken skin (remove fat under skin as much as possible) so it could be tie up later to seal the bottom after stuffing ingredient inside. 

Step 3. Stuff both spring chickens with glutinous rice, ginseng root, 2 red dates and 2 garlic cloves each. Ensure it leave about 1/4 space inside, for the rice to expand as it cook.

Step 4. Tie the bottom of the chicken by using cotton strings or skewer.

Step 5. Make a cut on the bottom part of one thigh.

Then, tuck in the other drumstick into the cut hole to keep the legs crossed together. Alternatively, you may tie it with strings or secure it using skewer sticks.

Step 6. Place the stuffed chickens into a pot, add around 10 to 12 cups of cold water (or enough to cover 3/4 of the chicken). Put it the balance of red dates, garlic cloves and spring onion white stalks and bring it to boil. 

Step 7. Cook it under medium high heat for 30 minutes with lid. Skim off the foam or any visible fat from the broth surface if any. Continue to simmer with lid under low heat for another 20 mins. Then it is done. 

Step 8. Serve it in a bowl or hot stone ware. Garnish with some chopped green onions. Seasoned the broth with salt according to your taste.  

Both of us prefer unseasoned taste of chicken broth. Before eat, we will use a scissor to cut and open up the stuffed chicken to make it easy eat. I love the sticky rice in Samgyetang more than the chicken meat!

TIPS: I notice that the dried ginseng root is not fully expand maybe due to it is stuffed inside with other ingredient with bottom sealed. You can put the Ginseng root boil together with the chicken without stuff inside the chicken.

Hope you enjoy cooking the Samgyetang at home just like us!