Ginseng Chicken Soup – Summer Eats (Recipe)

This amazing chicken soup is little known outside of Korean communities. It brings together amazing ingredients (including ginseng) to create a dish that we can’t get enough of!

What is samgyetang?

It’s a piping hot chicken soup, cooked in the traditional way so that is both delicious and packed full of nutrition. In Korea, people are a big fan of the practice of ‘iyeolchiyeol’, which essentially means to fight heat with heat. Therefore, Koreans serve this hot chicken soup in the dead of summer! Of course, for anyone who prefers their heat in the winter, samgyetang is perfect to boost their immune system during cold those winter months.

The soup features small whole chickens that have been stuffed with sticky rice and other trimmings and simmered in a herbal broth until tender. The stuffing is what makes the soup so unique. As well as the rich taste of sticky rice which is so popular the world over, you can add chestnuts, ginkgo nuts, jujubes, ginseng, and garlic to the soup. Although pairing chicken with nuts isn’t a unique concept, the addition of jujubes (red, date-like fruits), ginseng and garlic create an aromatic harmony of flavour which is sure to excite even the pickiest of eaters.

What ginseng should you use for samgyetang?

As you know, ginseng is prized for its medical uses as well as its flavour. Any Asian or American ginseng can be used in your samgyetang. A higher-quality (older) ginseng will make the tastiest nutritious soup. Of course, you can also use Ginax Ginseng pods to make simple, delicious ginseng broth to cook the chicken in. You’ll get the same taste and health benefits!

Typically, you can find samgyetang kits in Asian supermarkets, which make the entire process of making your own version of this traditional dish much simpler. These kits have dried ginseng in them, which must be soaked to rehydrate and soften the pieces. To get the flavour and the benefit of the ginseng in your meal dried ginseng must be properly soaked before it is added to the soup. Using the water that you soaked them will provide extra flavour to the meal. Instead, you could try your hand at making this simple soup from scratch.


What you’ll need:

  • 1 small chicken (or a larger chicken cut in half)
  • 2 leeks
  • 4 to 8 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 4 to 8 teaspoons of shredded ginger (to taste)
  • 2 cups of glutinous rice
  • dried jujube fruit (take out the pit)
  • salt
  • ginseng


  1. Clean and trim the chicken and place in stockpot
  2. Add 3 to 4 cups of water (or use Ginax pods — add 2 cups of water and brew a pod twice to get 2 cups of pure ginseng flavour)
  3. Wash and roughly chop leeks
  4. Add leeks, jujubes, garlic, ginger and salt to the stockpot and bring to a boil
  5. Turn heat to medium and simmer for at least an hour and a half
  6. As its simmering you can take the foam off if you wish
  7. Enjoy hot or cold

You can also stuff the chicken with the rice and aromatics before simmering The long cooking time creates fall-off-the-bone meat and a rich broth loaded with vitamins. Once cooked, the dish can be served with a heaping portion of kimchi, so that you can get the double-punch of very healthy and very spicy food. Lovely!