I am a scientist who loves to cook because there are many similarities between working in a lab and cooking in a kitchen. I love to share my cooking experience with you and to inspire others to cook.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ginseng Chicken Soup

My cousin showed up at my apartment one day holding a box of fresh ginseng and two Cornish hens and said "make this soup!"

I obliged and went online to find a recipe. I have been using this website as my go-to Korea recipe site http://www.maangchi.com/  since learning about it.  

Since ginseng is grown in Korea, this could explain why Ginseng Chicken Soup is commonly associated with Korea. However, I don't think this soup is native only to the Koreans. I was also told that Koreans consume Ginseng Chicken Soup only twice a year in the Fall when the weather turns cold.

                           Scallion, garlic, wolfberry and ginseng (forgot the jujube)

Ingredients: (serves 4)

1. One Cornish Hen (Cornish hen are young chickens and the meat are more tender than fully grown chicken)
2. 1/4 cup of rice
3. One dozen cloves of garlic (don't skim on this). Use it as whole garlic.
4. Green onions/scallions (roughly cut length wise, you don't want to chop this into pieces)
5. A few jujubes and a pinch of wolfberries (optional)
6. 2 small ginseng roots (fresh ginseng would be best but the dried kind is fine). Roughly cut into small pieces)
7. 1/2 cup of rice


1. Wash and rinse the chicken.
2. Put the chicken in a pot and add just enough water to cover the chicken.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients including rice into the pot. Including the rice
(traditional way of cooking is to stuff the cavity of the chicken with the rest of the ingredients).
4. Cook the soup in medium heat for about 1.5 hours.
5. Season with salt and pepper

This soup taste refreshingly "sweet". Not sugar-sweet, but a 5th taste-sense kind of sweetness. It is hard to explain the taste. None of the flavor in this dish overpowers each other. What you get is a perfect blend of flavors with the unmistakeable smell of ginseng. True to its name, the meat of the Cornish hen is so tender that it falls apart and melts in my mouth.

It cost $15 to buy a bowl of this soup in K-town. How much would you like to pay me for a bowl of homemade soup? 


  1. This looks incredible. Gonna make it someday! Cheers and keep up the interesting posts.

  2. I'm the demanding cousin, but when you have a pound of fresh ginseng in your hands, your priorities are a bit skewed. I have to say, this dish came out absolutly awesome. Especially on a cold winter day, it doesn't get much better than this. Picture looks good too!