Wednesday June 10, 2009 00:42

Samgyetang 삼계탕 – Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup

Posted by hying

When people think of Korean food, mostly they think of very hot food that is red in color. However, not all Korean food is that hot. A typical exception would be samgyetang, a dish enjoyed in summer for good health. Samgyetang contains ginseng, garlic, dried jujube fruit, and glutinous rice and is cooked for a long time. The same dish without ginseng is called baeksuk (백숙) and it is samgyetang if it has ginseng in it.

Samgyetang is not that difficult to make. First you stuff a chicken with these ingredients and tie it up so that the ingredients won’t fall out. Then you cook it in a broth at high temperature until it boils, at a point you will then cook it for over an hour on a weak flame.

The ingredients are important, but it is also critical that it is cooked in a stone or earthenware pot. In Korea there are something called bongnal three times each summer when it is supposed to be especially hot. Individually these are called chobok, jungbok and malbok and it is on these days that Koreans go out of their way to eat samgyetang.

People have it on chobok, at the summer’s beginning to make sure they don’t succumb to the heat. They have it again on jungbok, when it’s the middle of the summer, to hold back the heat. Finally, on malbok, at the end of the summer, they have it because it is  good for your health and it’s still hot anyway.

This is a tradition that has continued for ages. Pass by a Korean restaurant specializing in samgyetang on one of these bongnal and you’ll see people lined up all the way outside. Many schools and companies cafeterias have samgyetang on their menus on these days. Isn’t it interesting that there are days when you’re supposed to eat a special dish while thinking of your health?



  • Small chicken (cornish hen)
  • 1/4 cup of sweet rice (glutinous rice)
  • A dozen cloves of garlic
  • Green onions
  • A few jujube fruits
  • 1 or 2 small ginseng roots


  • Wash and rinse your chicken in cold running water
  • Soak 1/4 cup of sweet rice for 1 hour
  • Stuff the chicken with the sweet rice, a ginseng root, a few jujube fruits and 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • Place the chicken in a pot
  • Pour water into the pot and boil it over high heat for 20 minutes.
  • When it starts boiling, skim off any foam and fat that rises to the surface
  • Then pour in more water and boil it over medium heat for 40 minutes
  • When it cooks properly, the chicken will be easily pulled apart by chopsticks
  • Serve it with salt and pepper and Kimchi or Kaktugi

How to make Samgyetang – Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup

Source From:

  • Arirang TV
  • Maangchi

1 Response to Samgyetang 삼계탕 – Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup



September 25th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

i love to eat Chicken Soup, my mom used to always serve that dish with me specially when i am sick during my childhood days.

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