Korean Ginseng, or Insam, is known as the guard of human health that dates back to a long history of more than 2,000 years. Hosted by The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Singapore, we were very glad to be invited to the Korean Ginseng Festival 2013 that was held at Hansang Family Restaurant on November 7th, where we discovered all the health benefits of Korean Ginseng which is used widely in a variety of Korean cuisines and dishes.
The opening of the festival was launched by the Guest-of-Honour (Spouse of the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea), Mrs Seo Ki Ae, followed by an extensive presentation of the national treasure shared by Guest speaker Professor Kim Si-Kwan.
While Korean Ginseng has been highly praised for its health benefits, the national treasure is also a highly sought after product and we see why. With roots that can be used for medicinal purposes, Korean Ginseng also prevents fatique and stress and improves the overall blood circulation and brain functions.
One of the popular dishes that uses Korean Ginseng as an ingredient is the ‘Samgyetang‘ (Ginseng chicken soup), and others include ‘Insam Goguma Mat Tang‘ (Deep Fried Ginseng & Sweet Potato), ‘Insam Japchae‘ (Sweet potato noodle with Ginseng), ‘Insam Dak Jook‘ (Ginseng chicken porridge), ‘Insam Goojol Pan‘ (Flour roll stuffed with 8 ingredients), and more! These are not all – they’re just a few out of the many dishes we tried at the Korean Ginseng Festival!
On top of the Ginseng-themed luncheon that was served at the festival, we also got to enjoy a live cooking demonstration of the delicious ‘Samgyetang‘ and mouth-watering ‘Insam Danhabook Galbi Jjim‘ (Beef Stew & Korean Ginseng with sweet pumpkin). Now that we understand how the Korean Ginseng comes about and seen the live cooking demonstration, it doesn’t seem that difficult to try cooking it yourself at home!
For those who’d love to give it a try at cooking the ‘Samgyetang’ yourself, here’s a step-by-step guide to the recipe provided with courtesy by The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Singapore:
- Whole chicken (2 x 500-600g; 5-6 month old)
- Glutinous rice (4 tablespoons; soaked in water for 1 hour)
- Fresh ginseng (2 roots)
- Red date (6 pieces)
- Whole garlic (6 cloves)
- Chestnut (2 pieces; optional)
- Water (1.8 Liter)
- Spring onion (2 tablespoons; chopped)
- A pinch of Salt & Pepper
Steps to cook Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken)
- Remove innards from the chicken and clean the cavities.
- Make small cuts on the skin near the legs to fill the cavity.
- Stuff chickens with 1 tablespoon of glutinous rice first, a half ginseng root, 1 chestnut, 1 red date, 1 clove of garlic, and finish with another tablespoon of glutinous rice.
- Cross the chicken legs and stick the legs into the cut on the skin to contain the stuffing.
- In a large soup pot, add chickens, ginseng, dates and garlic.
- Add water and bring to boil. Once it starts boiling, turn heat down to low and simmer for 1.5-2 hours.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with spring onion to serve.
And now that you’re equipped with the recipe, anyone can try cooking this at home instead of making a trip down to the restaurant to order it! We hope you’ve had a clearer idea on the background of Korean Ginseng from this post. Special thanks to The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Singapore for the invitation to the event!
The Korean Ginseng Festival 2013 was proudly hosted by The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Singapore and sponsored by Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation and Korea Ginseng Corp.