Stuffed chicken soup with ginseng, what the Koreans call Sam Gae Tang, is a delicious, fragrant soup that is surprisingly easy to make.

In Korea, it is commonly made during the hot summer months, when Koreans like to drink hot soup or stews. The Koreans believe that hot and spicy liquids help the body to regulate itself and stay cooler in the summer heat.

I find that it makes a great meal during the cold winter months. The very slight spiciness of the delicious broth leaves me feeling warm, and the sweet, rich chestnuts, rice and chicken leave me feeling satisfied.

The finished stuffed chicken soup with ginseng. Photo: CC--avlxyzIngredients:

  • 1 whole chicken or 2 Cornish hens
  • 2 roots of dried ginseng, washed
  • 8-10 chestnuts, peeled
  • 6-8 red dried dates, rinsed (optional)
  • ½ cup sweet, glutinous rice (Mochigome in Japanese, or Chapsal in Korean), washed and drained
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ inch piece ginger, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 chopped scallions for garnish
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:
Remove any innards from the bird(s). Rinse bird(s) inside and out.

Trim any visible fat off the bird(s), but be sure to leave any skin needed to cover stuffing in cavity.

Stuff the chicken with the sweet rice, chestnuts and garlic. Use toothpicks as needed to help keep the stuffing in the bird(s).

In a large soup pot, add stuffed chickens, ginseng roots, dates, and ginger. (I prefer it without the dates, so I leave them out).

Pour in enough water to cover bird(s).

Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer.

Cook about 1.5-2 hours or until the thigh bones come off easily. Don't cook so long that the bird starts to come apart. The bird(s) should stay whole, with the skin on.

Skim fat from time to time during cooking.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with scallions to serve.

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