Tuesday 11 January 2011

Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup - 参鸡汤

Ginseng Chicken Soup(参鸡汤) or Samgyetang in Korea translation is a traditional soup served in the summer to replace nutrients lost through excessive sweating and physical exertion during the hot summers in Korea. And the main ingredients of this soup is using whole young chicken, glutinous rice, Korean ginseng, red dates, garlic, ginseng and perhaps some herbs like wolfberries and dang gui.

  But here I am sharing with you another light and simple version using only whole chicken, ginseng, glutinous rice and red dates which is good enough to produce a pot of delicious and nutritious ginseng chicken soup.

Ingredients: (serves 2 - 4)
1 Medium Size Chicken, about 1 – 1.2kg
¼ Cup of Glutinous Rice
4 – 5 Soup Ginseng Roots
4 – 6 Red Dates
1.2 Litre of Boiling Water
1 Stalk of Spring Onion, sliced
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1. Soak 1/4 cup of sweet rice for 1 hour.

2. Wash and rinse your chicken in cold running water, trim the extra fats, emptied and cleaned the cavity, removed the head, neck and feet.

3. Bring a big pot of water to boil, blanched the whole clean chicken in boiling water for about 3 – 5 minutes. (flipped at least once)

4. Removed and rinse over cold running water for 20 seconds and set aside.

5. Next stuff the chicken with the soaked glutinous rice, 2 – 3 ginseng root and half of the red dates then place the chicken in the empty soup pot. (I used a big claypot for this)

6. Slowly add in boiling water on the side of the chicken till it cover almost ¾ or more more of the chicken and let soup comes to bring over medium heat.

7. When the soup starts boiling, skim off any foam and fat that rises to the surface. Add in the rest of the Ginseng Root and red dates, low the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour. (I simmer mine for about 1½ hours on very low heat)

8. Serve it with salt, freshly ground pepper and chopped spring onion.

~ Depending on the size of the chicken you might even need to simmer the soup for more than an hour in order for the chicken to cooked through.

~ If you do not have any Korean Ginseng, you could always used any soup ginseng root that can be easily purchased from any Chinese Medical Shop. I bought mine from ZTP at around S$6.00 for 5 stalks of dried ginseng.

This is what we have for dinner after 1.5 hours of simmering over very hot heat on the stove. The minute you opened the cover the room would be filled with the fragrant aroma of the ginseng and each mouthful of soup is infuse with the sweet flavour that is disperse from the ingredients used. Do give this a try during cold and rainy days and it will definitely makes a great dish.


  1. Great! I was just thinking of trying this out. Can I check with you is glutinous rice the only kind tt can be used? I was thinking of tyring this with Jap sushi rice.


  2. Wish I have read it earlier. I just bought a chicken but chopped it all up to make chicken soup.

    But this is definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  3. it looks YUMMY! after cny when im more free, i shall try it with my mum (: thank you!(:

  4. Jess: Errr.. I am not sure about replacing the glutinous rice with Japanese Sushi but using of glutinous rice will be expand after cooking and hold its' shape in the cavity like those "sticky rice" texture. If you wish to try using Japanese Sushi Rice mb you could let me know the outcome too :)

    Emy: Ohhhh no worries, you can always try this out nx rd :p

    The Sweetylicious: Do give it a try I am sure your mum would love it too :)

  5. Hey..

    That's a really nice recipe. But I was thinking do you have something similar but in smaller portion? Like cooking with chicken part(such as drumstick) instead?

    Cuz I'm not too confident in trying something this big, plus I can't finish the whole chicken! haha..


  6. Michellehuicq19/8/11 9:28 pm

    Hi I love this soup and make it a point to hv it whenever I'm in Seoul. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will try to make it for the first time.
    Question : in your recipe, you only used part of the ginseng roots n half the red dates. What abt the balance?

  7. Opps! Sorry Michelle. I have amend "steps 7" where u add in the remaining ginseng roots and red dates :) HTH Thanks for letting me know.

  8. Thanks Ellena! I stumbled upon your food blog a couple of weekends ago and have been hooked! I'm inspired to try out some of your recipes for dishes I've not cooked before. Tks! Btw, I'm now brewing black chicken soup using Hock Hua's pre packed ginseng herbs for lunch - PSLE son having prelims next wk so giving him pure chicken essence :-) have u tried it before? It's so easy n tastes good!

  9. Hi Ellena, since stumbling on ur blog a mth ago, I hv been devouring your recipes for my fav dishes. Just you know after enquiring abt your recipe last mth, I really cooked this soup for lunch today...as our family are soup lovers , I added more water, ginseng , red dates...oh added more glutinous riice garlic cloves too! So light, nourishing and refreshing... Will use the leftover chicken meat for porridge ;-)
    Once again, thanks for selflessly sharing your recipes with everyone. Thank you!

  10. My Mom always made this with baby cornish hens. She would put whole garlic and baby onions in the cavity too.



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