Friday, July 24, 2009

Ginseng Chicken Soup (삼계탕)

Ginseng Chicken Soup on the "hottest" day of the Summer*

There are three of these days during the summer; first, middle and last**. And on these days, it's tradition to have a piping hot bowl of this special soup. Today is the middle day: "중복".

I had my usual morning phone call with my mom this morning. She had just gotten back to her office from the post office when she rang. She had sent some ramyun by post; which I have to look forward to in about a week. During our conversation, her cell phone rang. It was Dad, asking her when she'd be home and if she was going to go exercise after work. I could hear their whole conversation. Mom sounded a bit agitated because dad's line was a bit noisy. She asked dad to buy her the Chicken Soup because today was the day to eat it.

I stopped by Real near work to pick up some essentials; a whole chicken, smaller the better. My mom usually use Cornish hens. The main ingredients are ginseng, dried dates, garlic cloves, and sweet rice. I didn't have ginseng and dates, so I had to make do without.

Rinse thoroughly and soak the sweet rice in water overnight. Since I didn't have the time, I microwaved the rice for two minutes. Clean the chicken, inside and out. Stuff the cavity with the rice. I used half a cup for a three pound chicken. Place the chicken in the pot, fill with water to completely cover the chicken. Drop in several cloves of garlice, if you have ginsend and dates, add those too. Bring it to a slow boil and simmer for at least 1 hour. Serve with chopped scallions and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

**The last day falls on August 13th, so why not give it a try.

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