Some people say that Asians tend to look younger, and perhaps it is because we have been eating to nourish ourselves for thousands of years. Some Koreans believe that every consumption of this summer dish extends their lifespan by a day. Well, I’m quite happy just if it makes me look one hour younger, so that I can keep having this soup. It is simply wonderful.
Korean cuisine was introduced to Singapore in the 1990s. As we became more affluent, our taste buds started to become more sophisticated. Our mothers’ chicken soup needed some supplement from restaurants. I can still remember struggling with the Korean steel and flat chopsticks which differ from our Chinese rounded ones.
This is a soup I will always ask for in a Korean restaurant. I love soups, perhaps because I grew up having a soup at every meal.
When my kids were growing up, I continued this tradition and served a soup every meal until my Malay personal trainer warned me that soups are loaded with sodium. So, I stopped. It is a pity, because I still believe soups nourish our bodies and souls, and the Koreans believe this dish can extend your lifespan, if you eat the ginseng.
It is super easy to make, and the taste comes mainly from the garlic-infused chicken. Use a pot that fits a small chicken snugly. I used a pressure cooker for mine, just so I don’t have to wait. I guess the taste may not be as good, but to save 40 minutes, the small sacrifice in taste is worth the while.
1 Free Range Chicken (about 1 - 1.5kg)
20 cloves of Garlic
2-3 whole Ginseng
3-4 cups of boiling water/stock (enough to cover the chicken breast)
1/4 cup Glutinous/Sweet Rice (soaked in water for an hour)
Juliennes of green/spring onions
Other optional ingredients to stuff chicken with or placed in soup (Ginko nuts, Dates, Chestnuts, Wolfberry etc)
- Clean chicken and scald it with hot water.
- Stuff chicken with the soaked glutinous rice, optional ingredients, one ginseng and 5 cloves of garlic.
- Put chicken into a claypot that just fits the chicken, breast side up. Fill up with just enough water to skim the breast.
- Bring to a boil, and remove any scum that floats. Ensure water skims the breast, top up water if necessary.
- Cover and continue to cook until chicken is done. In the pressure cooker, it takes 20 minutes, in other pots, a small chicken should take an additional 40-60 minutes.
- Throw in the green/spring onions.
- While the chicken is cooking, steam some rice, and serve the soup with the rice, kimchi and a salad.
Here is the best video I’ve found that does deboning the best. It works well.