Food & Drink Magazine

Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)

By Cosybites @cosybites


Happy New Year! Since this is my first post in 2014, I’m taking this opportunity to wish everybody a fabulous year ahead!

I am loving every bit of the weather in Dubai right now. Yes, the day may be shorter and there may be rain but I just LOVE ♥ the cool weather. It’s really a nice contrast to the scorching hot weather we normally get in Dubai. I just hope this winter stays on a little longer.

I was grocery shopping with my Korean friend at A-Mart (the Korean-Japanese supermarket along Sheikh Zayed Road) and she showed me a pack of herbs that I could use to make samgyetang. I bought a pack to try and have since gone back to buy some more.

Samgyetang Herbs Pack

Samgyetang herbs pack from A-Mart

My friend told me that what’s in the pack is not korean ginseng but something called hwang gi, which I think is milk vetch root. With some quick verbal instructions from my Korean friend (which was all of 3 sentences), I tried my hand at cooking samgyetang. It turned out really well and I was surprised that even a picky eater like my son loves it. It’s a perfect dish to complement the cool winter weather.

Here’s the recipe for Samgyetang (based on my friend’s 3-sentence instructions :P). Enjoy!



  • 1 packet of Samgyetang herbs pack OR small ginseng roots
  • 1 small chicken
  • 1 cup sweet/glutinous/sticky rice
  • 8 jujubes/dried red dates (there are already 2 given in the pack but I added more)
  • 20 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • Water
  • Salt, to taste

Cooking in progress


  1. Soak sweet rice in water for 6 hours. My friend said this is to help soften the rice. I left it to soak overnight. Drain the water and set the rice aside.
  2. Wash the chicken inside and out under running water.
  3. Stuff the chicken with the sweet rice, a couple of red dates and a few garlic. Seal with toothpick.
  4. Place chicken breast side down in a pot. Add the herbs and the remaining red dates and garlic. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken.
  5. Bring water to a boil and continue boiling over high heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Add water, reduce heat and leave to simmer for another 1 to 1½ hours. Skim off foam and fats while cooking. Add salt to taste. 
  7. The chicken is properly cooked when it can be easily separated with a pair of chopsticks.
  8. Serve hot.

Check out the sweet rice inside the chicken!

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