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Magical Chicken Ginseng Soup


Magical Chicken Ginseng Soup

This medicinal soup can give you an energizing lift and immunity boost. Ginseng has numerous health benefits and this soup is known as “Korean penicillin.” Whenever I am feeling under the weather, I make this soup and feel warm and cozy in no time. If using the dried ginseng root, there is no need for the tea and vice versa, but I have made this using both the tea granules and the roots and it is truly lovely. — Judy Joo, host of Cooking Channel’s new series Korean Food Made Simple

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  • 4 Cups boiling water
  • 10 0.1-ounce packets Korean red ginseng tea
  • 2 baby chickens (poussin) or Cornish hens, about 2 pounds each
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 3 jujube dates or 15 goji berries
  • 3 pieces dried Korean red ginseng, optional
  • 2 cooked chestnuts, peeled, optional
  • 1 Cup uncooked sweet rice
  • 2 pinches dried chili threads
  • Handful fresh pea shoots
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • 1 Teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Brew the ginseng tea by mixing together the boiling water and the ginseng sachets until dissolved. Set aside. Rinse the chickens with cold water. Place 2 of the garlic cloves, 1 date, 1 piece of ginseng, a chestnut, and 2 tablespoons of rice into the cavity of each bird. Skewer each closed with a toothpick. Place the remaining rice in a double layer piece of muslin or cheesecloth with of the remaining ginseng and date. Tie the cloth closed tightly but leave a little bit of extra space for the rice to expand. Place the chickens and rice bag into a large wide heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with the tea, and top off with water to cover, if necessary. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, occasionally skimming away any fat that comes to the surface, until cooked through, about 2 hours.

When done, the chickens should be very soft and fall apart easily when tugged at. Carefully transfer the chickens to two bowls and divide the broth between them. Top the chickens with chili threads, garnish with pea shoots, and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. Drizzle with sesame oil. Unwrap the rice package in a separate bowl and sprinkle with black sesame seeds, if you like. Serve with salt and pepper on the side.