You really have to try this easy Samgyetang recipe. This Korean Gingseng Chicken Soup is the ultimate comfort food that offers deliciousness and health benefits. The rice-stuffed chicken is so tender and the broth is so rich and nutritious. It's one of the easiest Korean recipes to make at home, perfect for when you don't feel like going out to restaurants.
What is Samgyetang
Today, I'll be sharing one of my favorite Korean recipes, Samgyetang. Samgyetang is a traditional Korean ginseng chicken soup. It is usually served in the summer to fight the heat with heat (iyeolchiyeol).
Samgyetang is a very popular nourishing food to restore the nutrients that are lost through physical activities and to increase stamina in the hot months.
In my opinion, Samgyetang is light, healthy, and tasty enough to enjoy all year round. I never get tired of it! It's absolutely the best version of chicken soup because the broth is flavorful even when unseasoned.
What is Samgyetang Made Of?
This Samgyetang soup is made of cornish hen, medicinal ginseng, jujube, garlic, scallions, and ginger.
Cornish hen. The traditional Korean ginseng chicken soup is usually made of a whole young chicken. In this recipe, I used 2 pieces from cornish hens, but a small whole young chicken will work as well.
Ginseng. It offers many health benefits. It's traditionally used to boost the immune system, increase stamina, lower blood sugar, and prevent cancer.
You can use either fresh or dried Korean ginseng, or American ginseng.
Jujube. It's also known as Red or Chinese date. The fruit is quite sweet and high in antioxidants. It's used in alternative medicine to treat insomnia and anxiety.
You can find dried jujube at any Asian grocer or on Amazon.com
Rice. Use sweet rice, also known as sticky rice or glutinous rice. It's called sweet rice because it's slightly sweeter than regular rice.
The sweet rice is stuffed into the cavity of the chicken. It adds sweetness and richness to the soup as well as keeps the meat moist.
Scallion. It's an optional ingredient. I always use scallions to add a subtle and bright onion flavor to the broth.
Seasoning. The broth is infused with aromatic vegetables, such as garlic and scallion. The soup is completely unseasoned, but can then be served with salt and black pepper on the side that you can add to the soup according to your liking.
How to Make Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup
1. Prepare All of the Ingredients
- Soak the white rice in cold water for 1-2 hours.
- Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken.
- Wash the chicken thoroughly under running cold water.
- Peel the garlic and ginger.
- Rinse the jujube and ginseng.
2. Stuff the Chicken Cavity
- Insert a piece of ginseng, 2 dried jujubes, 5 whole garlic cloves, 2 thin ginger slices, and 2 tablespoons of soaked rice into the cavity of each cornish hen.
- You can tie the legs with twine to prevent the stuffing from falling out. This is optional. I personally use ginseng and garlic to work as a barrier.
3. Cook the Soup
- Place both cornish hens into the pot.
- Add 6-8 cups of water or more so both chickens are completely submerged in water.
- Add scallions and bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat.
- Once boiled, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until the chickens are fully cooked.
Instant Pot Samgyetang Cooking Instructions
If you prefer to cook the Samgyetang in an Instant Pot, follow these steps.
1. Add stuffed cornish hens and scallions (optional) into the pot.
2. Cook for 20 minutes on high heat, manual setting.
3. Once the cooking cycle has completed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure and opening the lid.
FAQ and Cooking Tips
For a creamier texture and thicker broth, you can add additional 1-2 tablespoons of soaked rice into the pot. Honestly, I think the clearer broth tastes better.
There is a myth that the stuffing, including jujube and ginseng, is harmful to the body as it absorbs the toxins of the chicken. But recent studies have confirmed it is safe to eat.
If you are going to use an herbal kit, you may need to soak the ginseng in cold water 24 hours prior to cooking or follow the preparation and cooking steps according to the product packaging.
Using a Samgyetang herbal kit may save you time, but the drawback is that sometimes the kits come with a very little amount of ginseng.
You can use either one based on your personal health goals, as each type of ginseng offers its own health benefits. You can read more about them here.
First, let the Korean ginseng chicken soup cool at room temperature, no longer than 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is at 90°F or higher. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container. The leftover will last for 3-4 days in a fridge or 4-6 months in the freezer.
You can reheat the leftover soup in a microwave for 30 seconds, open the door, stir the soup and continue reheating for another 30 seconds or longer. Alternatively, you can reheat the soup on the stove over medium heat until warm throughout.
Check Out More Easy Korean Recipes
- Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
- Korean Bean Sprout Salad (Kongnamul Muchim)
- Korean BBQ Wings
- Sweet Potato Noodles (Japchae)
- Bulgogi Taco
- Beef Stir Fry with Gochujang
- Siguemchi Namul (Spinach Salad)
Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)
- a 3.75 quart pot or larger
- 2 cornish hens, (rinse and remove the giblets if any)
- 2 (15 gram each) fresh ginseng, Korean or American, (rinsed)
- 10 small garlic cloves
- 4 thin ginger slices
- 4 jujube, (also known as Chinese red dates)
- 4 scallions, (use the white part for soup and the green part for garnish)
- ¼ cup sweet white rice (glutinous rice) , (plus 2 tablespoons more to boil the liquid if desired) soak the rice in cold water for 1-2 hours.
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorn
- Insert 2 tablespoons of soaked rice, 2 dried jujubes, 5 whole garlic cloves, 2 thin ginger slices, and a piece of ginseng into the cavity of each cornish hen.
- Place both cornish hens and (optional) 2 tablespoons of rice to thicken the soup if desired into the pot. Add 6-8 cups of water or more as needed so both chickens are completely submerged in water.
- Add scallions (white part only), and black peppercorn. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 20 minutes or longer, until the cornish hens are fully cooked. Skim off the white foam (scum) that rises to the surface before the liquid reaches boiling point, then again every 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with chopped green onion, salt, and black pepper on the side.