Spring is here and I can feel the warm air outside. When it comes to spring, there is one soup dish that I like to make. It is "Samgyetang (삼계탕)" the Korean chicken and ginseng soup. I know people are tired of soups and stews they have been eating over the long winter days and looking forward to enjoy light, fresh, green flavored dishes. So this chicken soup might not be for everyone. But I can tell you that this chicken soup is known for energizing your soul on warm days. Believe it or not, Koreans like to eat this soup for hot summer days. Let's get the recipe, shall we?

I like to make my Korean chicken and ginseng soup in the spring with a young spring chicken. With a convenient ginseng & medical herb mixture pouches that you can buy at the Korean store, making this chicken soup is a piece of cake.

Ginseng is famous for its health benefit of providing energy and anti-inflammatory effect. It is also often used to comfort for those who suffers with flu. You can use ginseng alone with this soup but Koreans like to combine with other dried medical herbs. The easiest way to obtain them is buying the pre-mixed pouches at the Korean stores. That way you don't have to search for each ingredients.

Sweet short grain rice is often used to stuff the cavity of chicken. You will need to soak them in water for 1 hour.

Then drain.

This is the Samgyetang pouch. It is wrapped in tea bags, so all you need to do is to add in the pot and take it out when done.

You will also need a whole chicken, of course. I recommend to use small spring chicken if you can. Organic is even better. Garlic, ginger, and dried jujube (대추, daechoo) are also needed as well.

You will want to cut-off the little tiny tail part at the bottom of chicken. It has no use for it and has a ton of fat. So remove it.

Stuff the chicken cavity with rice and a few dried jujube. Do not try to fill to the maximum. You will need some hollow space for the rice to expand as it cooks. Otherwise, it will explode.

Cut a hole on the loose skin of each side of bottom. You will use this hole to truss the chicken leg.

Cross the legs and put through the holes, just like that. Easy, right?

Add chicken to the pot along with the ginseng pouch, garlic, adn ginger. You can add Asian leeks or onion, too, if you like. You will need to pour water to barely cover the chicken.

Cover and bring to a gentle boil first, then simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the chicken is tender and the rice gets cooked.

Done! The chicken looks gorgeous! Throw some green onion to garnish.

The meat will fall off the bones very easily.

As you can tell, the soup is unseasoned. You will want to dip the meat on salt & pepper mixture. You can also season the broth with salt and pepper as you serve.

I like to serve my chicken soup with kimchi. They are meant to be together. Yum~!

This soup is really comforting and good for you. As you can see, it is so easy to make. Hope you get to try this in the spring warm weather to boost your energy level and be comfortable. Enjoy!

~ Holly

Korean Chicken & Ginseng Soup (Samgyetang)

for 1 whole chicken


  • 1 whole young chicken (about 2-1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 cup sweet short grain rice, soaked in water for 1 hr and drained
  • 1 pouch ginseng & dried medical herb mix
  • 3-4 dried jujube (daechoo)
  • 6-7 garlic cloves
  • 3 slices ginger
  • water 
  • salt and pepper to serve
  • Chopped green onion, for garnish


  1. Clean the whole chicken inside out with water. Cut off the tiny tail part on the bottom of the chicken. Stuff the chicken cavity with rice and dried jujube but leave some hollow space for the rice to expand during the cooking time.
  2. Cut hole on the loose skin at the each side of bottom part of chicken. Cross the legs and put through the hole to secure. Place the chicken in a pot, add water to barely cover the chicken. Add garlic and ginger. 
  3. Cover and bring to a gentle boil first, then simmer over low heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hr until chicken is tender and the rice gets cook through.
  4. Serve hot with salt and pepper to dip the meat and to season the chicken and the broth. Kimchi is a must to serve with.

More delicious Korean food? Click the images below to get the recipes.

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