Samgyetang Chicken Soup

This is a common but popular Korean soup . I have this recipe from a friend, MJ, a few years ago, when I was given some nice Korean ginseng from a friend. I was wondering what shall I do with the ginseng and MJ send this recipe to me when she see my chat in watapps and I try it out. This soup also very common and popular with the Chinese, and normally known as Chicken Herbal Soup or Ginseng Chicken Soup. The Chinese and Korean believe this soup is good for our health and help our body to properly regulate temperature. The Chinese have a few versions of doing it , using  black chicken and using more Chinese herbs. The Chinese version doesn’t cook the rice with the chicken and using more herbs not just ginseng, that the biggest different between the Chinese and Korean version.

This recipe is ok with or without the Chinese herbs or ginseng. Thus if you don’t like the herbal taste just don’t add the inseng. But I recommend  to go with the ginseng as it make the whole soup a unique taste and amd the rice very tasty.

Personally, I do not like to prepare this soup as I am a lazy person and this soup need quite some work especially the last 1.5 hours whereby you need to check on the broth. But preparing this soup make me understand how much my mum love me. I had a weak body when I was small boy (age 4 -7) and tend to fall sick easily. My mum will prepare this soup at least twice a week as she hope doing so can buildup my health over time. I always hate to drink it as I hate the herbal taste and it is always a drama when my mum try to hoax me to finish this. This goes on for a few years, not sure whether it is this remedy, my body  get stronger and not required to drink it at one point.So for the past 20 over years I seldom take this soup until a few years ago I start to appreciate the herbal taste. It is also back then when I prepare this soup, I realise how much effort my mum used to put in for me twice a week when I was small.

Ingredient (Serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup sweet rice
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 Cornish hen or a few big chicken thigh or 1 small chicken depending on how many people are  enjoying this dish
  • 3 dried Korean dates (daechu or jujubes)
  • Coarse salt
  • Sesame seeds Dip, mix 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds together in a small bowl with a few grinds black pepper and a large pinch of salt and set aside
  • Chilli Dip, mix 2 tablespoon of chilli sauce with 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic and  1/2 teaspoon light soya sauce. (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Ginseng (optional)
  • Ginkgo nuts (optional)
  • Chestnuts (optional)
  • Pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • Sunflower seeds (optional)


  • Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water and transfer to a bowl. Add cool water to cover and soak for at least 6 hours and up  overnight.
  • Drain the rice and stir in the garlic and ginger. Stuff the cavity of the Cornish hen with the soaked rice, ginseng, Ginkgo nuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and place in a small stone pot or any small, heavy pot that snugly fits the Cornish hen. If you using chicken thigh, then use soup bag to contain the soaked rice, garlic and ginger, while can leave  ginseng, Ginkgo nuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds outside of the soup bag.
  • Add cold water to cover along with the dried dates. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover and cook at a boil for 11/2 hours, checking the water level every 30 minutes or so to ensure that the broth nearly covers the bird.Check the hen or chicken with a chopstick or fork, the meat shall be easily tear off, soft and tender. Season the broth to taste with salt (it take about 1 or 2 teaspoons)..
  • Scatter the soup with scallions and serve the sesame seed dip or the chilli dip alongside.

Note Other that enjoying the soup, you can tear off the hen with chopstick or fork and dip with the sesame seed dip or chilli dip. The rice mixture inside the hen can be eaten together with every spoon of soup or eaten by alone too. It is ok too if leave it at the bottom of the pot. If you are using the soup bag, you can open the soup bag and mix the rice with the soup.

Cooking Time 15 hours (including rice soaking)

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