Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ginseng Chicken Soup

Ginseng Chicken Soup is called "Sam Gae Tang" in Korean. Ginseng Chicken Soup is eaten on hottest days during summer season in Korea, believing that the nutrients from the herbs and proteins from the chicken can help nourish your body in summer when one can easily lose appetite and become weak from over sweating. According to the lunar calender, there are three hottest days in summer: one in the beginning of summer, one in the middle, and one towards the end of the summer. Sam gae tang is eaten for lunch on any of these days in Korea. Its ingredients are the ones commonly used in Chinese medicinal purposes: ginseng, and dates along with sweet rice, garlic and chest nuts. The flavor of this soup is really good. It's mild with a strong and concentrated chicken stock with flavors of the herbs.

Ingredients: whole young chicken (gutted), sweet rice, ginseng, dried dates, chestnuts, sliced ginger, several cloves of garlic, green onions

1. First, you need to put sweet rice in water and let it sit for 30 minutes at least until the rice softens up.

2. Take the chicken and broaden its rear for stuffing purpose.

3. Stuff it with the softened sweet rice, chestnuts, whole garlic, sliced gingers, and ginseng. Stuff as much as you can and try to close the opening with big pieces of dates and chestnuts.

4. Close its legs and carefully place it in an earthen bowl.

5. Add water, and add some garlic cloves, ginseng, and dates for flavoring the stock.

6. Place it on a stove and cook initially for 20 minutes in high heat.

Add some more water as the stock evaporates. Make sure you have enough water and your chicken is fully cooked in the first 20 minutes. You can flip the chicken and put it back to its original position.

7. After 20 minutes, put the lid on and turn the heat down to medium. Continue cooking for additional 40-45 minutes.
8. Constantly, open the lid and get rid of cooked blood clots found in foams using a netted spoon. You need to get rid of all these little dirty chunks and make the broth as clear as possible.

This is how clear the broth should be in the end.

9. Cut green onions and throw them onto the soup as garnish and flavoring.
Don't forget to add salt and pepper to the soup as needed. I also use salt and pepper on a side dish for dipping chicken meat. Also, this dish goes great with ginseng ju (ginseng wine) below. Enjoy!

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