Samgye-tang 삼계탕参鸡汤 (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)

My first foray other than kimchi making into Korean food. Bought some fresh Korean ginseng from the supermarket during or rather before Chinese New Year as it was on sale. Anything on sale gets me buying!  I just have to make sure it doesn’t go into the bin! Likewise with the Korean chestnuts I had bought fresh when they were on sale and dried them whole in my fridge!🤣

Google is a wonderful tool and search engine to have. I came across this Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup) recipe and decided to try it out. A small fresh chicken was duly purchased yesterday for today’s soup.

Korean Ginseng to the Chinese is considered a ‘heaty’ ginseng and as such, I was surprised that it is a summer soup, namely for the hot weather.

I have sort of followed the recipe from Sue’s blog and remembered incorrectly the portion of rice to be soaked, which was just as well as the full portion would not have fit into the cavity of my small chicken. The Chinese use smaller chickens for soups as it is a young chicken and as such, has more nutritious values.

I have added an apple and wolfberries to the soup as the apple is believed to relieve thirst and wolfberries improve the eyesight.


1 small chicken, washed & dried

1 fresh Korean ginseng root (can be substituted with dried ginseng slices)

5 red dates (the Koreans call them jujubes)

5 Korean chestnuts (dried ones need to be rehydrated by soaking them in water overnight)

2 tablespoons glutinous white rice, soaked overnight

1 small apple, cored, diced with skin on

handful of wolfberries


  • Place ginseng root, dates, chestnuts & rice into cavity of the chicken.
  • Truss or in simple English, tie the chicken legs, crossed so as to prevent the fillings from coming out during cooking.
  • Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil.
  • Add the apple pieces & wolfberries.
  • Boil for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  • Add salt & pepper if required or you can follow what is recommended, place salt & pepper in a dish for each individual’s use when serving the soup.

(I used a Thermal cooker for this soup which I believe would help in reducing the use of gas and hence fossil fuel. There are guidelines on how long to boil before cooking it thermally. If you have a thermal cooker, look at the cooking guidelines for your brand. I boiled for about 20 minutes before putting it in the thermal pot. )

*I had to add about 3 teaspoons of salt to get some taste. The scent of the ginseng was very nice. You could not taste it in the soup. I am told that this is how Korean ginseng soup is supposed to taste. Very happy to know.



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