By Jeannette Park | May 24, 2012

Photo: eboppy

Samgyetang, or ginseng chicken soup, is usually served during the summer to replace nutrients lost while sweating or physical exertion. Koreans believe this soup can prevent illness, and while it is traditionally made with a whole young chicken, Cornish game hens also work well.

Ginseng Chicken Soup Recipe

Servings: 2


  • 1 whole chicken (or 2 Cornish game hens)
  • 8 cups water or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 3 clovesgarlic, peeled
  • 2 tbspginger, finely grated
  • 2 pieces fresh ginseng roots (found at Asian specialty markets, but dried works okay too)
  • ½ cup chapsal (sticky rice)
  • 2 Korean red dates (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped


1) Soak the rice for 30 minutes in water then drain.
2) Wash the chicken or Cornish game hens thoroughly inside and out.
3) Stuff the soaked rice, 1 piece of ginseng root, 1 clove of garlic, ginger, and Korean dates (if using) into the cavity of the chicken (if using game hens, divide the ingredients evenly so there’s enough to fill both hens).
4) Put the stuffed chicken or hens in a large pot and cover with water or broth (don’t worry about any of the ingredients falling out). Add remaining piece of ginseng and garlic to the pot and sprinkle with the 2 tsp of salt.
5) Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes with lid on. Skim off any foam that might appear on top.
6) Add chopped scallions to pot and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until meat falls easily off the bone.
7) Add salt to taste and serve alone or with a side of rice.

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