Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup
I had to try my new double-boiling Chinese soup pot, so specifically sourced some nice Korean Ginseng ($100 HKD for 2 pieces) so I could make double-boiled ginseng soup with chicken (and pork). I love the genuine taste of Ginseng, it’s smooth and golden. And I love it in soups even more! Using the simplest of herbs, the soup takes a solid 3 hours in the double-boiler – but comes out rich, delicious and bursting full of flavours. Truly one of my favourite double-boiled goodies.
The benefits of ginseng and chicken soup are also numerous. Ginseng is usually described as “nourishing life” and the effects of the double-boiler, which maintains the soup at a lower heat without disturbing the ingredients physically, enable the flavours and efficacy of the ginger to permeate throughout the soup. The soup enhance immune functions and make body functions strong like the heart, lungs and spleen.
Double-boiled Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup
Traditional Chinese Name:
人參雞湯 (rén sēn jī tāng)
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Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 3 hours in double boiler
Total time: 3 hours and 15 mins
Serves: 4-5 bowls
- 2 fresh pieces of Korean ginseng
- 1/2 pound of fresh pork shank
- 1 tablespoon of dried scallops
- 1 tablespoon of dried red dates (pitted)
- 1 tablespoon of dried longans
- 3-4 pieces of dried Chinese yam
- 2-3 slices of fresh ginger
- 3 L of water
The ingredients include: Fresh Korean ginseng, pork, chicken, dried red dates, dried Chinese Yam, and dried longans. I used chicken drumsticks instead of a whole chicken (which is usually recommended). The constraints you’re working with include the size of your double-boiler. In most cases, double-boilers need to fit inside another pot, so unless you’re got a restaurant-sized soup pot, you are restricted to the size of your double-boiling pot to fit the ingredients.
To keep the soup as “skinny” as possible, I removed the skin and as much fat as I could. Then I chopped the drumsticks into 3’s so that I can compact the size of the ingredients to fit into the double-boiler. The same applied for the pork shank. I didn’t blanch the meat as both didn’t have that much fat and I rinsed them under cool water before throwing it into the soup to clean them.
Keep the herbs simple. A mixture of these will suffice. Actually, my herbalist even suggested to just use dried Chinese Yam and that’s it, but I liked a little bit of sweetness and wanted to balance the coolness of the ginseng with the heaty of the dried longans just a little. If you’re scared that it’s too cooling, throw in 1-2 slices of ginger to balance it out.
Start by boiling your soup water. To be honest, I am eye-balling everything, but I started with a half pot of water and decided that I could always add more water after fitting all the ingredients in. Once the water boils, throw in all the ingredients together and boil on high for about 30 minutes. This is still OUTSIDE of the double-boiler.
The point of boiling it outside is to make sure everything is boiling inside and sufficiently cooking and mixing and bringing out nice flavours. I then turn off the stove and let it cool enough to bring the double-boiler into the pot to really begin the double-boiling process. Once inside the double-boiling pot, you can top it off with boiling water to ensure it’s full (more soup) and fill the double-boiling outside pot with warm or slightly hot water. Boil the outside pot until it really boils and then reduce to a very, very, very small boil and keep it tightly covered.
Double-boil it for about 3 hours and when it’s done, the soup will be a rich, golden colour and smell delicious. The house permeates with this ginseng fragrance and it’s beautiful.
I recommend directly serving from the double-boiler to the bowl. No salt is needed. Enjoy!!!
Variations to the soup can include using the black, silkie chicken instead. They are definitely smaller, so hopefully will fit – but in general, this soup is made with both chicken and pork. You can also change up some of the herbs to include maybe the large dried dates, Astragalus Root, wolfberries, or Codonopsis Pilosula Root.
- Boil 1 separate pot of water to blanch your protein
- You can also begin to boil your pot of soup water in the thermal pot with the 3L of cold water
- Prepare your chicken any way you’d like. I tend to quarter it and reserve the breast for another meal, using only the legs and bones.
- In your blanching pot, drop in the chicken bones and meat into the boiling water and blanch for 5-6 minutes, or until the water re-boils.
- Slice the wintermelon into large pieces, keeping the skin on.
- Using gloves, peel the Chinese (or Japanese) Yam and cut into large 2-inch thick pieces
- Cut the gobo root into 2 inch long pieces, keeping the skin on
- When your soup water boils, transfer the meat, add in the dried herbal ingredients, and all the roots and wintermelon
- Boil on high for 30 minutes
- Transfer for a thermal pot for another 4 hours to let it finish cooking
- Serve and enjoy!
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- Ceramic double boilers are the best, especially what you put the soup in. You can use a metal outer double boiler, but ceramic or glass as best for boiling the soup
- The Chinese double-boiled soups tend to have more than one protein (chicken + pork) as that really create the intense flavours that double-boiled soups are for