Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sam Gye Tang - Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup - (삼계탕)

The MR is actually not really a fan of chicken, so I try and stay away from it as much as possible. But I thought I would go ahead and make sam gye tang anyhow since I haven't made it in a long time. Plus, the MR and Munchkin both enjoy the dak jook that I make with the leftover sam gye tang all the time.

  • 1 cornish game hen
  • 3 ginseng roots (you can buy the freah kind if you want, but I tend to just buy the dry ones because it's a lot less $$)
  • 4-5 dried chestnuts (or fresh ones)
  • 7-10 whole garlic cloves
  • 10 daechus (dried jujubees)
  • sweet rice - enough to stuff the hen with

These are the items you will be using for your broth. Garlic cloves, ginseng root, chestnuts, and daechus.

Take your chicken out of it's package and give it a nice bath and make sure to drain as much blood out of the cavities as possible.

Bring the chicken to a boil in a pot of water and when you see this gunk start to appear, remove it from the heat.

Give it a nice rinse under cold water and make sure you carefully clean out the inside too. There's a lot of blood and gunk that gets accumulated inside after that quick boil. Once the chicken is cleaned off, you're now ready to stuff the chicken.

Add enough sweet rice to fill up half the chicken, then add a clove of garlic and a chestnut, fill the rice to to top and seal it off by positioning a daechu and garlic piece like this. You can go ahead and sew the chicken shut if you want to. But in my experience if you stuff it closed carefully like this and make sure there's a tight fit, most of the rice doesn't escape. Oh, and excuse me for making you stare at the a** of a chicken. =P

Clean the pot, add the chicken and fill with as much water as you can. Make sure you use a pot that is narrow and high to give the chicken a snug fit. You need at least 5 inches of water to cover the chicken because most of it will evaporate anyhow. So be sure to use a pot high enough.

Bring the soup to a boil and keep skimming any remaining fat that rises to the top. You don't want to boil the water too harshly. Make sure it's a slow boil. Cover the pot and let it boil for up to 3-4 hours. Every 30 minutes or so use a large ladle to flip the chicken over to ensure even cooking.

This is what the broth looked like after about 1.5 hours. I removed all but 2 daechus (jujubes) at this point, but left everything else in there.

About 3.5 hours later the broth was ready.

I took this picture for presentaton. You're ready to serve! You can tear the chicken meat away and add some soup. Add salt to taste with some green onions as garnishment and you can add rice directly to the soup and enjoy. Don't forget the delicious sweet rice inside the chicken!


  1. reminds me of what my mom used to make me when i felt sick. :)

  2. Hey, Im Malaysian but love korean food. I tried sam gye tang in korean restaurants over here and their soup is whitish - what do you think they added to it? Im gonna try this recipe. Thanks for posting. And oh, there's one of those side dish that I really like: tender cooked beef soaked in black soy sauce, when served, usually sprinkled with sesame. If you have recipe for that, do post please. Also need to know the name of the slightly thick sauce used in Barbecue - the one that goes with the leafy vege and garlic.

  3. I can't wait to cook it tomorrow! What side dishes do Koreans go with this dish?

  4. This is the real deal! Thank you for posting with such explicit instructions and the step-by-step photos. I've probably been through 8-10 online recipes for Sam Gye Tang, but this is by far the most authentic and most well illustrated. I have about 20 lbs. of Jujube fruit from my tree this year and will put them to use in this recipe. Do you have a recipe for daechu cha? Thanks!

  5. love your site!! great recipes and photos. much needed on the web. am praying for your cancer fight...

  6. This puppy fell apart fast for me . . . and it was my fault (has nothing to do with your instructions). But it's funny now that I think about it . . . the chicken was getting so over cooked, that the rice started escaping one by one and was floating in the pot (ha ha).

    It's funny now but I at the time I was just happy to finally get instructions on how to make this. However, would rather order it than make it.

  7. Why did you remove the jujubes? :O

  8. We grow free ranged, grass fed chickens and I was speaking with a customer and she told me about stuffing sweet rice and boiling it. Didn't really tell me any other ingredient. I was reading another food blog and it talked about this pack of herbs and someone commented about the Korean ginseng chicken broth.

    Searched searched and led me here :) Am so excited to try this. I went to a Korean grocery today and panickly bought 10 packs of the dried stuff for this soup :) Defrosting a chicken now in the ref and hope to cook it tomorrow. Glad I found this site yesterday.

  9. Made this soup for my family and they loved it! Even my picky 20mth old. Thanks so much for the recipe and pics. Couldn't believe how easy it was to make. Can't wait to try out some of your other dishes. =)

  10. i like this recipe its good when you have a coold

  11. Can I use a dol sot to cook this dish. I have a set of 4 and would like to cook one for each person. Is this possible? I thought you could use them in the oven maybe?

  12. i had sam gye tang in Seoul and 8 years later, I still remember the savory deliciousness of it -- I live in the LA area, so I am looking for a great place in Koreatown to have this great comfort food.... your recipe looks wonderful.... and easy - i should give it a try! thanks for posting

  13. This looks excellent. I moved to Korea in August and this dish is my favourite so far, especially now as it's getting colder. I've only been boiling the chicken for around an hour and a half - what advantages does keeping it in for longer have? Usually so hungry after work though so not sure I could wait that long!



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