I just got back from Seoul last week. Unlike my first few trips of spending like crazy on Korean skin care and masks, this time, I only splurge on food!! I lugged back some fresh fat wild Korean ginseng and some hot pepper and soy bean pastes. I'm pretty pleased with myself this time. At least I make good use of these food ingredients, unlike the skin care and masks. In fact, I still have quite an amount of masks left from my trips to Seoul two years ago :p
I have gotten these pretty looking Korean ginseng from Lotte supermarket in Myeongdong. It cost me KRW40,000 (equivalent to about RM125) for 500g (which has about 15 ginseng roots). I felt that this is quite a good price, not as pricey as the dried Korean ginseng, and these days, there are risks involved when buying dried ginseng, we aren't sure the stuffs we are buying are genuine or not.
In Korea, fresh ginseng are usually used to make samgeytang (which literally translates as ginseng chicken soup) by boiling a whole young chicken stuffed with glutinous rice. In Korea, samgeytang is widely believed to both cure and prevent physical ailments. The proteins and nutrients from the whole chicken mixed with the beneficial properties of the ingredients combined in the dish makes it a revered culinary item in South Korea. Samgeytang is a favorite dish consumed in Summer cos food with high nutrient content is eaten to regain the loss of stamina in the summer heat.
I cooked this for a few friends at my place at dinner time. I was worried that it would keep me awake all night since it's supposed to boost stamina and uplift energy. But surprisingly, I slept well (went into snooze-land upon touching my pillow) and woke up with good glow on my skin. Must be the Korean ginseng chicken or was it just psychologically? Hahaa.. Feedback from all my friends who had this soup for dinner, they all slept superbly well. Amazing, huh?
For the soup
For the soup
- 1 whole chicken
- 3-4 fresh Korean ginseng
- 4 red dates
- handful of yuk zhuk 玉竹and wai shan (Chinese yam) 淮山
- bunch of spring onion
- Pinch of salt
- 10 cups of water
For the stuffing
- 3-5 fresh gingko
- 1/2 cup of glutinous rice (I used a combination of black and white glutinous rice), soaked in water for at least 1hr
- 3 red dates
- 2 fresh Korean ginseng
- 2-3 fresh Chinese chestnuts
- Wash the chicken thoroughly.
- Stuff the inside of chicken with soaked glutinous rice, 3-5 red dates, 1-2 ginseng, all the gingko. Use the red dates or ginseng to block the opening so that the glutinous rice doesn't oozes out while cooking. Do not attempt to over-stuff the chicken, cos glutinous rice would expand when cooked.
- Place the rest of the ingredients at the bottom of your soup pot. Place stuffed chicken on top. Pour in 10cups of water.
- Boil for at least 2-3 hours.