Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sam Gye Tang (Chicken Soup)

  • one game hen.
  • a cup and half of sweet rice
  • a few dried dates
  • a few dried ginseng
  • a few dried chestnuts
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • a couple teaspoon of malt syrup.
  • salt and pepper to taste

im lucky enough to have access to fresh, not frozen game hens. the local market for some reason has plenty of these fresh foster farms game hens. i love it.

these game hens are great in this dish, as they dont turn out all rubbery. if you are using frozen, thaw them out completely. rubbery boiled chicken is not good.

also, most korean market will sell "sam ghe tang kits" i usually stick with those. im lazy. however, note that i dont ever use the entire packet of sweet rice provided. they always package too much rice.

be sure to get malt syrup, not corn syrup. everyone has garlic in their house.

see now, this is euges sam ghe tang, not yo mamas. i make mines a bit different. traditionally, the game hen is stuffed with the all the ingredients and boiled. thats how i started to make mines year ago, but through trial and error, i came up with this method.

you start off by halfing the hen and removing the back bone.

using kitchen shears, cut along one egde of the backbone and cut all the way down. then again on the other side. once you have the hen butterflied, just one swift chop of the kitchen knife and you have halfed the hen.

clean these very well, removing whatever organ bits that might be inside the cavity, small feathers still stuck on it, etc. add the two halves to a pot of boiling water. at the same time, start heating up another pot of water, about 5 - 6 cups and add in the ginseng. then when this pot reaches a boil add in the chestnuts.

back to the orignal pot, you want to boil off some fat and bleed the hens. i don't like a brown broth for sam ghe tang, i like a clean tasting broth. a few minutes should be about enough to render some fat off and bleed the hens throughly.

take the two halves, clean off any brown bits of blood that might be stuck on it and add to the pot with the ginseng and walnuts. simmer this, a very slow boil. add some salt to season. add the peeled garlic cloves. cover the pot. you want to simmer this for a fairly long time. i like to simmer for at least a minium for thirty minutes. about half way into the amount of time you have allocated to simmer for, i add in the dates and the malt syrup.

while the pot with the hen is simmering, i address the sweet rice. traditionally, you wouldnt have to worry about this because you got the rice cooking inside the hens cavity. but i like my sam ghe tang similiar to a soup like consistency and my sweet rice like jook. cooking the sweet rice seperately lets this happen.

now if i had plenty of time, i would simmer an extra few cups of water in with the hens and dried ingredients, but most of the time i dont, so i cheat. swanson organic chicken broth aint too bad and with a few extra steps, makes a great sweet rice jook.

in a large fry pan, slightly toast the sweet rice, barely enough to brown it slightly. add some chopped garlic and toss for about a minute over a med high flame.

add in a little chicken broth at a time, think risotto. for some reason i got stuck on making all jooks this way, risotto style. im sure im just imagining it, but it taste better to me. by the time you added enough chicken stock to the sweet rice to get a good jook, the hens should be done. add a few ladles of the hen broth to the sweet rice.

serve separately. you have to have a bit of salt and pepper to season both things. you should also have a small dish of salt and pepper for the chicken meat. when prepared this way, your chicken and broth actually looks like soup.

and your sweet rice jook, looks like jook.

this meal is completed by kimchee, radish kimchee to the exact.

good korean comfort food.

this meals more medicine than food, but it taste pretty damn freaking good. more than that though. when you make this, its special. it takes a farily long time to prepare than your average meal and you make this with the intent of making someone better.

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