The Wisdom of “Fight Heat With Heat” That Will Help Revive Your Vitality In The Summer’s Heat: Samgyetang
The Wisdom of “Fight Heat With Heat” That Will Help Revive Your Vitality In The Summer’s Heat: Samgy
2 hours 5 minutes
Summer, a season where you sweat profusely even when you’re standing still, has finally come. On hot days like this, you’re sure to crave cold food like ice cream and lemonades. Koreans, however, have been fighting heat by eating hot meals in the summer as a tradition. This is because our ancestors believed that when the body heat accumulates underneath the skin, cold energy takes up inside the body.
We describe a life custom such as above as ‘i-yeol-chi-yeol’ or ’fight fire with fire!' Samgyetang or ginseng chicken soup is the perfect Korean dish that represents this saying. Samgyetang refers to a dish made by emptying out the cavity of a whole young chicken, filling it with various medicinal herbs and sweet rice, and fully cooking everything together. According to <Donguibogam: Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine>, chicken has warm properties, which help calm the cold five viscera and strengthen the resistance of the body. It also has a high protein content while being low in fat, which allows for easier digestion and absorption so you can better replenish your body’s stamina.
The origin of samgyetang is dak-baeksuk or whole chicken soup, a type of Korean food with a long history which was enjoyed since the Three Kingdoms Period and Joseon Dynasty. It was, however, not cooked with medicinal herbs like ginseng at the time. Such ingredients as ginseng were not used until after the Japanese colonial era. Even then, ginseng was only added to dak-baeksuk in powder form. It was during the 1960s when the supply of refrigerators began to increase that dried ginseng was used instead of powdered ginseng because people were able to store ginseng for a longer time. This upgraded version of dak-baeksuk with dried ginseng is what we know and enjoy as samgyetang today.
An interesting thing to point out is that both China and Japan enjoy dishes similar to samgyetang. In Chinese food, there is a Guangdong-style dish called lao-huo-jing-tang or old fire soup, made by boiling chicken, pork, beef, and vegetables for a prolonged time. In Japanese food, there is mizutaki, a sukiyaki dish of Fukuoka origin made with chicken, just like samgyetang. Both of these dishes are similar to samgyetang in that they are soup dishes that use chicken as a primary ingredient and rice or chestnut as supplementary ingredients.
Despite such similarities, however, all three of the dishes are undoubtedly different. The usage of garlic in Korea’s samgyetang is much higher, while China uses more ginger and Japan uses more radish or burdock. China’s lao-huo-jing-tang also uses pilose bellflower, an ingredient that’s not used at all in either Korean or Japanese cuisine. In addition, Japan’s mizutaki does not use a whole chicken and doesn’t usually have ingredients like ginseng, jujube, and milk vetch roots.
This coming July 11 is ‘chobok,’ also known as the ‘first of the three dog days.’ Boknal refers to the day fall’s yin energy is stopped on the way down to the earth, overpowered by the hot summertime energy, which means the heat is that much intense and is at its highest on this day. Why don’t you take care of your family, exhausted from the summer heat, withKorean samgyetang full of immunity-enhancing ginseng on this upcoming boknal? You’ll be able to feel the ‘magic of i-yeol-chi-yeol’ once you eat the perfectly cooked, tender chicken off the bones while sweating profusely and enjoy the rich and savory broth mixed with rice. Ploma will give you the recipe for this healthy chicken soup.
2 Whole young chickens
1/2 Cup Sweet rice
1 Fresh Ginseng
3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Chestnut
8 Cups Water
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Remove the oil and skin of the chickens and rinse the inside clean. Soak the chickens in cold water to remove blood.
Rinse the sweet rice and soak it in water for about 2 hours.
Rinse the rest of the ingredients clean.
Stuff the chicken cavities with the soaked sweet rice, fresh ginseng, dates, garlic, and chestnut.
Cut a slit on one side of the chicken thigh skin and cross the chicken legs so that they’re secured.
Put the prepped chickens and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to its lowest setting and continue cooking until the soup turns into a milky color.
Once the chickens are fully cooked, season them with salt and pepper.
· Skim off any scum from cooking the chickens for a clearer broth.
· You may add large green onions and mushrooms as garnish depending on your taste.