Korea – Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup/Samgye-tang

by Evelyn Burtz

Samgye-tang is a soup dish that is also known as Ginseng chicken soup. This dish is very specific to the ingredients. Like Chicken of specific age is used in this dish then this dish has used whole chicken in the same bowl. Ginseng is the plant used in this dish for proper flavoring and aroma. This plant is cultivated in Japan. And has a huge fan following in the Korean cuisine dishes. This dish is followed by people in any season. Like when it is served hot in the winter, this is very warm and soothes the body temperature. When it is served in the summer, It is like the go-to dish to cook and have. It is very light and good for digestion. Soups and stews are very popular in a Korean meal. There are huge varieties of Korean stews and soups ranging from milder version to the Spicier version. Korean cuisine is famous for Spicy food and then it also has a spicy version of the soup. This stew is placed in the category of TANG. Tang in Korean cuisine has a very thin consistency. For Korean cuisine, soup and stews are part of the main course rather than serving as the Appetizer or Starter.

The name of the dish of the same category depends upon the use of chicken. Like if chicken is slightly older in age it is named Yeonggye Baeksuk. When chicken is used in this dish divided into pieces rather than using it as the whole chicken this is called, Banggye-tang.


This dish is placed in the tang category of Korean cuisine so we should have knowledge about what the tang is? Tang is also known as Guk in Korean cuisine. It is the specific class in which soup-like dishes are involved. Tang and Guk are almost the same class of dishes but a slight difference in their consistency.

  • Tang is the class of soup or stew category in which the consistency of stew is slightly thicker than guk. It has less use of water while making the broth or stew.
  • Guk is placed in the same class but it has difference of using more water in stew. This dish has the consistency of thin towards watery side.

There are huge members of dishes of the same class and a few of them are :

  • Malgeun jangguk
  • Gomguk
  • Tojangguk
  • Naengguk
  • Muguk
  • Miyeok naengguk


Whenever it comes to Korean cuisine and traditions, the Great Joseon State, Joseon Dynasty has a big role. This ruling was from 1392 to 1897, that has a big impact on the Korean Tradition. It was one of the most common meat dishes served for the King and also included in the Royal Court Kitchen Cuisine. The culture of eating Samgye-tang on Bok Days is common even nowadays but it has a tradition that came up from that time.

During the Japanese colonial era period in Korea, the use of Ginseng in making Samgye-tang is very common. This dish was named Gyesam-tang because it has the use of Ginseng powder. This ingredient seemed to be very expensive and only rich families can afford to have ginseng in their soup.

Some people used to have ginseng freshly prepared and dried to convert it into fine powder. Now, this is a very common ingredient that can be used in making Samgye-tang. It was called Gyesamtang until the 1960s and then the current Samgye-tang was called.


In Korean tradition, there are three popular days of the year to have this soup as the culture of Korean cuisine. In Lunar Calendar there are days for having samgye-tang are

  • Chobok (초복)
  • Jungbok (중복)
  • Malbok (말복)

These days are said to be the hottest days of Korea in summer. During these days to fulfill the body’s nutritional requirement, this soup or slurry is served. Because of sweating during summers, this is the best way to fulfill the reuiqrement and also good for great energy.

Insam-Ju is the Ginseng wine also assumed to be very beneficial in summer to gather all the lost energy in summer by sweating.


In Korea, during summer it is said that, Yi yeol chi yeol (以熱治熱: 이열치열), which means “fight fire with fire.” Because having hot soup during summer makes the body even healthier. There are a lot of benefits of having the ginseng soup :

  • It Boosts up the energy because of having all the required nutrients
  • It Improves the brain of function and sharpens the memory.
  • It helps the body to strengthen the immune system.
  • It is good in replenish Qi and blood deficiency during anemia and other medical disorders
  • It strengthens the physical weakness and malnutrition, due to illness.
  • It calms the mind during depression and anxiety.
  • Regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
  • It makes body very healthy full of nutritions and also, fresh the taste buds with amazing taste.
  • It is a good source of anti oxidants.
  • It helps in anti aging precedure and boost up the keratin level for good skin and nails.


  • 360 calories
  • 37.0 g of Carbohydrates
  • 38 g of fat
  • 33 g of protein
  • 168mg cholesterol
  • 3537mg sodium.
  • 1 g Dietary fiber
  • 0.4g sugars



Poussin (chicken) is also known as coquelet. This chicken has few characteristics :

  • This chicken is less then 28 days old.
  • This chicken weighing ideally 400–500 grams.
  • It is also known as Spring chicken
  • It weigh not above 750 grams.
  • In USA, poussin is known as small sized cross breed chicken
  • Cornish Game chicken is also another name for poussin chicken.


This is the plant that grows in the East Asian area of mountains. It is added to the soup with poussin chicken to give it a unique flavor. It is also used as an herb for medical treatment in folk medicine.

There are different names for ginseng :

  • Panax ginseng
  • ginseng
  • Asian ginseng
  • Korean Ginseng
  • Chinese Ginseng
  • Rénshēn


Jujube is the species of Zizipus. It is from the buckthorn family. There are different names for jujube :

  • Red date
  • Chinese date
  • Chinese jujube

There are different use of jujube in culinary aspects :

  • It is used as candid fruit in many dishes
  • It is eaten as the snack with tea or coffee
  • Smoked jujubes are also known as black jujubes.
  • There are canned jujube tea and canned jujube fruits.
  • Jujube vinegar is also be added into dishes of korean cuisine
  • In Assam the famous pickle from jujube fruits is made; Bogori aachar.


There are different Korean vegetables added into this dish for the flavors and crunch to the dish

  • Napa cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Bean sprouts
  • Scallions
  • Garlic,
  • Water celery


  • Cornish hen : 2
  • Short grain rice : 1/2 cup
  • Garlic cloves : 8
  • Onion : 1 small
  • Scallions : 1 bunch
  • Ginseng roots : 2 roots
  • Dried jujube : 2
  • Kosher salt : 1 tbsp
  • Roasted sesame seeds : 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil : 4 tbs
  • Soya sauce : 3 tbsp
  • honey : 3 tbsp


  • Take a large mixing bowl and add chicken whole into it. Add soya sauce, salt and garlic cloves over the chicken and marinate it for 20 minutes.
  • In a cooking pot add olive oil and add onions into it for sauteed them, add rice into the onion mixture and add 8 glass o water into the cooking pot of onion mixture.
  • Bring the water to boil and than add mairnated chicken into the onion mixture.
  • Add all the other spices and herbs like ginseng, jujube, sesame and kosher salt.
  • Let this chicken and water to cook for around 30 or even more to cook and tender it properly.
  • When the stew is cooked and chicken is tender its time to add vegetables and sauces into the soup.
  • Add scallions with soya sauce and honey into the ginseng chicken soup.
  • Let this cook for 5 more minutes and serve.
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply