Samgyetang is a health food: sam means ginseng while gye is chicken in Chinese characters. A whole young chicken cavity is stuffed with glutinous rice, ginseng, jujubes, chestnut, gingko nuts and other ingredients cooked in broth. Joseon era documents describe how a young chicken was cooked and served to elderly people during sambok, the three hottest days in summer, which are called chobok, jungbok, and malbok. The origin of samgyetang can date back to records about hwanggyetang which was served to the frail queen of King Injo to boost her energy. Chicken with milk vetch root was boiled down and the thick broth was consumed. Even in modern times, diners queued in long lines in front of samgyetang restaurants is a familiar scene on the three dog days. Therefore, the healthy dish is one of the locals’ favorite summer delicacies.
Main Ingredients :
1 whole young chicken (450g – 500g), 50 g soaked glutinous rice, 1 chestnut, 2 gingko nuts, 1 fresh ginseng root (50 g), 2 jujubes
Spices :Stock Ingredients:
2 L water, 10 g ginger, 100 g radish, 5 g licorice root, 5 g milk vetch root, 10 cloves garlic.
10 g green onion, salt, ground black pepper
Remove the internal organs of a young chicken and rinse it cleanly. Cut off the smelly tail section. Stuff the chicken cavity with the sweet rice that’s rinsed and soaked in cold water for about an hour. Insert the whole chestnut, gingko nuts, jujubes, and fresh ginseng in between the rice. Cross the legs of the stuffed chicken and tie them neatly with a piece of string. In two liters of water, add ginger, radish, licorice roots, milk vetch root and garlic and simmer for about half-an-hour. Remove all the ingredients except the garlic. Put the chicken in the stock and simmer for about 40 minutes on high heat. Reduce the gas and leave it on low heat for about 10 minutes. Place the chicken in a bowl with the legs upward. Pour the oil-free broth and top it with the green onion pieces. Flavor the soup with salt and ground black pepper before eating.
☑ Glutinous rice should be soaked in cold water for about an hour otherwise it will take longer to cook and the chicken will become tough.
☑ Dried ginseng could substitute fresh ginseng.
☑ Licorice root and milk vetch root in the broth eliminate the poultry smell and improve the flavor of the stock. But the ingredients are not a must if they cannot be found abroad.
☑ Stuffed chicken goes on high heat for about 40 minutes, then leave the dish on at very low heat for about 10 minutes.
☑ Freshly-cut green onion pieces will help remove the chicken smell and also serve as a spice for the dish.
Kim Su-jin: Hansik Researcher
- Director of Association for Research on Taste of Korea
- Head Director of Food & Culture Korea Academy
- Nation’s First Film Food Director
(Major works: “Ssanghwajeom”, “The Painter of Wind”, “King and the Clown”, “Best Chef”)