Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Samgyetang (삼계탕) Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup

HERE comes another soup recipe you may say, but I cannot tell you enough times how much I love soups and stews. This soup definitely is a special occasion type of soup not because it is hard to make but because of the ingredients I have to gather before making it. I have never ever bought fresh ginseng till I made this soup the other day and it was pricey. I am sure getting dried ginseng would have saved me money but I wanted to follow this recipe from Norecipes exactly. I encourage you to visit the original website mentioned to see all the fun pictures too. I read that this soup is served in the summer in Korean but I made this on a cold rainy day. I love hot soups on a cold day! I aslo doubled the recipe because I had company. I made a special trip to a Korean gerocery store and found all the ingredients needed and I bought everything fresh. I wouldn't leave anything out, but I must say that I loved the chestnuts in the soup very much because they are so sweet and add a little crunch in the soup. I also bought a premade package with dried ginseng, jujubes, rice , and etc to try another time and compare and the taste and convenience.
I am so thankful for Internet and fellow food blogger such as Norecipes for sharing the recipes and allowing me to learn. This is the recipe I used.

Serves 2 hungry people

1/2 cup sticky rice (also known as “sweet rice” or “glutinous rice”)
2 Cornish game hens
2 tablespoons kosher salt (halve if using regular salt)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 small fresh ginseng roots (dried works okay too)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
10 jujubes
4 whole chestnuts
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (preferably home made)
1 scallion thinly sliced
sea salt for serving

The morning you want to make the Samgyetang, wash the rice and soak it in a bowl full of cold water. Rub each hen with a tablespoon of kosher salt, both inside and out.

When you’re ready to start cooking, drain the rice and mix it with the pine nuts. Add a ginseng root, garlic clove, jujube, and chestnut into the cavity of each hen, then split the rice between the two hens. Add another garlic clove, jujube, and chestnut to each chicken, then cut a small slit into the flap of skin just above each drumstick and thread the end of each drumstick through both flaps as shown in the photo below. You could also use a toothpick to “stitch” the opening shut, you just want to keep the opening closed so the stuffing doesn’t all fall out.

Add the chicken stock and remaining ginseng root, garlic, and jujubes to a pot that’s just big enough to hold both hens. Bring to a boil, then carefully add both hens. Return the soup to a boil then cover and turn the heat down to low and simmer for one hour.

Serve the Samgyetang in a small pot or stone bowl along with the soup, then garnish with the scallions. Give each person a small plate of salt that can be added to the soup to taste, or be used to dip the chicken meat into.

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