The Origins and Traditions of Samgyetang: A Culinary Journey

Samgyetang, a beloved dish in Korean cuisine, finds its roots in the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897), where it was initially crafted as a medicinal delicacy. Named “ginseng chicken soup,” it was believed to replenish energy and vitality, particularly during the scorching summer months.

This dish holds cultural significance, traditionally consumed during the three hottest days of the lunar calendar, known as Sambok. Its name reflects its key ingredients – ginseng, chicken, and a variety of herbs and spices.

Samgyetang’s preparation involves stuffing a young chicken with glutinous rice, garlic, jujubes, and ginseng, then simmering it slowly in a broth infused with Korean ginseng. This slow cooking process ensures a harmonious blend of flavors, resulting in a soup that is both aromatic and nourishing.

Eating Samgyetang involves savoring the delicate broth before dismantling the chicken and enjoying each succulent bite alongside the glutinous rice stuffing. It’s often served with kimchi and banchan, showcasing a celebration of flavors and textures.

While steeped in tradition, Samgyetang has evolved to cater to modern tastes and dietary preferences. Variations may include additional ingredients like chestnuts or medicinal herbs, and vegetarian and lighter versions are also available.

In conclusion, Samgyetang embodies centuries of Korean culinary heritage, offering a taste of tradition, medicinal wisdom, and cultural significance to those who savor its comforting embrace.

Korean Traditional Dish: Samgyetang Recipe


  • 1 whole young chicken (about 1.5 to 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup glutinous rice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 dried jujubes
  • 1 small ginseng root (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water


  1. Prepare Ingredients:
  • Rinse the glutinous rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Clean the chicken thoroughly, removing any excess fat. Trim off any excess skin around the cavity.
  1. Stuff the Chicken:
  • Drain the soaked glutinous rice and stuff it into the cavity of the chicken.
  • Place garlic cloves and dried jujubes inside the cavity along with the rice.
  • Optionally, insert a small ginseng root into the cavity for additional flavor (if available).
  1. Tie the Chicken:
  • Use kitchen twine to tie the legs of the chicken together, securing the stuffing inside.
  1. Cook the Samgyetang:
  • In a large pot, place the stuffed chicken and fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken completely.
  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
  1. Season and Serve:
  • Season the samgyetang with salt to taste.
  • Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls, placing a portion of the chicken and rice stuffing in each bowl.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions if desired.
  1. Enjoy:
  • Serve the samgyetang hot, accompanied by kimchi and other side dishes for a complete meal. Enjoy the comforting flavors of this traditional Korean dish!

This recipe yields a delicious and nourishing samgyetang, perfect for enjoying on hot summer days or whenever you crave a hearty and wholesome meal.

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