This chicken and chicken soup called Yeonggye-baeksuk in Korean (영계백숙) is a simple, communal dish that’s delicious, filling, and easy to share with many people. It uses a young chicken between 3 and 4 pounds which is boiled and then served with a rice porridge made from the broth.
I remember my grandmother on my father’s side making yeonggye-baeksuk when I was young. She had dozens of chickens running and playing in her yard, and she would pick one out, kill it by twisting its neck with her bare hands, and then put it in hot water to remove all its feathers before cutting it open and removing all its guts. My grandmother was a tough woman! I felt sorry for the the chicken but I was excited to have chicken and chicken porridge for dinner. When the chicken was boiling with lots of garlic, the smell spread through her whole village! I use ginseng in this recipe to boost your energy and to remove the chicken’s gamey flavor, but if you don’t have it you can skip it, it’s not essential.
You might be wondering what’s the difference between this recipe and the classic Korean ginseng chicken soup called samgyetang. They are similar in some ways but samgyetang is made with small cornish hen, about 1 to 1½ pound chicken, and each diner gets a small hen in their bowl. The hen is usually stuffed with rice and jujubes and ginseng is not skippable in that recipe. It’s also served all at once in a bowl, where yeonggye-baeksuk is traditionally served in stages.
I made a video for yeonggye-baeksuk when I travelled to Costa Rica in 2010 (woohoo! Time flies!) but I figured it was time to update and refine this recipe with exact measurements and film a new HD video for it. In that video I focused on the chicken soup, which is called dakjuk in Korean, but really this dish is all about the chicken we eat and the soup.
By the way, whenever I remake a video for a recipe, you can always find the old video linked from the sidebar. I can’t get rid of those videos, they are my life’s work and precious to me! I had a great time in Costa Rica.
I hope you enjoy this recipe with your friends and family!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
a 3½ to 4 pound whole chicken, cleaned and pat dried
1 cup sweet rice (or substitute short grain rice), rinsed and soaked in cold water for 1 to 2 hours
2 large fresh ginseng roots (optional)
1 cup garlic cloves (150 grams)
2 green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
For the onion mix dip:
½ cup sliced onion
4 green onions, sliced thinly diagonally
2 green chili peppers, chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
For the salt dip:
1 tablespoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 cucumber, cut into about 3 inch sticks
4 to 5 crispy and mild green chili peppers
About ¼ cup ssamjang
Cook the chicken:
Place the chicken in a large heavy pot. I use my 6½ quart heavy pot.
Add garlic, ginseng, and 10 cups of water. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium high heat until vigorously boiling.
Reduce the heat to medium low and cook another 50 minutes until the chicken is tender and fully cooked. While it’s cooking you can make 2 kinds of dip.
Onion mix dip:
Combine onion, green onion, green chili pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds, sugar, and hot pepper flakes in a bowl.
Mix it well with a spoon.
Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.
Combine salt, ground black pepper, and sesame seeds in a small bowl.
Mix evenly and set aside.
Take out the chicken and make soup:
Transfer the chicken along with the ginseng to a large platter. Place it on the table and let it cool down.
Remove any floating fat with a large spoon and discard.
Drain the rice and add it to the broth. Stir it a few times with a ladle or a wooden spoon.
Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is fully cooked and tender.
Serve the chicken first:
While the chicken soup is boiling, serve the chicken with the 2 kinds of dip, kimchi, vegetables, and ssamjang. Prepare individual plates so that they can take some of the chicken and dip it. Be sure to eat the ginseng.
Serve the soup:
Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped green onion. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the chicken and side dishes already in progress.