Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Baby Chicken and Ginseng Soup (Samgyetang)

Yield 2.


1/2 cup glutinous rice well rinsed
2 piece fresh ginger - (each 2" long)
1 x scallion sliced thin
6 x jujubes (Korean dates)
2 x garlic clove halved lengthwise
1 sm chicken or cornish game hen (abt 1 lb)
2 cup water
1 tsp sesame seeds toasted
1 tsp Korean sesame oil
1/8 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

  • Mix the rice, ginseng root, scallion, 3 of the jujubes and 1 garlic clove together and stuff the chicken. Sew up the opening.
  • Put the chicken in the "tukbaege" or in a heavy pot with a cover that is just a bit larger than the chicken. Add the 2 cups water, the other 3 jujubes, the other garlic clove, the sesame seeds and sesame oil and the pepper. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
  • The soup will develop a thick, cloudy consistency and the chicken will soften enough to melt away from the bones. Serve hot in the "tukbaege" if you have one, or transfer the chicken and broth to a large serving bowl.
  • This recipe serves 2 with a variety of side dishes.
  • Comments: This Samgyetang is a celebrated soup from the island of Cheju, and deservedly so since the prestigious, almost mystical, ginseng root is cooked and eaten like a vegetable with the chicken. The Samgyetang is cooked in a tukbaege and brought still bubbling to the table. It is considered to be a summer dish in restaurants and homes.
  • Koreans will break up the chicken and rice in the pot so that it becomes a gruel. I prefer that each person helps himself out of the pot, taking something of all the ingredients and spooning the rich, thick broth over all. It seems to me more aesthetic without altering the taste.
  • The jujubes prove a touch of contrasting sweetness to the chicken, rice and ginseng. Ginseng, or "insam" as it is also called in Korea, tastes to me like a slightly bitter parsnip. Its properties are alleged to be strengthening and bring about rejuvenation.

No comments: