Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Down for the count...

The workload has finally gotten the best of me. I am down for the count with a sore throat, night sweat (I had to change my shirt FOUR times last night from all the night sweat!), and a feverish delerium. I think a bowl of sam-ge-tan (as we call it in Japan), full of chicken-y goodness and sticky mochi (sweet) rice, full of spices and healing herbs is exactly what I need right now. I've only had this Korean dish once by chance in Seoul when I was a teenager, and yet I still dream about it every time I get sick.

A whole stuffed chicken, cooked to perfect tenderness in a gently broth, white from the chicken essence but with very little fat, scented with ginger and gingseng that fill the air - chicken pieces falling off the bone and melting together with the sticky rice that is full of spices, seasoning the chicken from the inside out... A perfect soup to warm me up as I sit here half shaking from not knowing whether I am hot or cold...

Any recipe suggestions? Any restaurant suggestions?!

11 comments:

ted said...

Sam-ge-tan,,,sounds good!
I love it.
Let me try to ask my korean friends about restaurants and recipe.

Uchipu said...

There's one in NYC ...

Does it have to be Samgetan?

Perfectly cooked beef consome with little bits of really good small ravioli floating is really good too~

starchmouse said...

I think my mother makes the soup stock by boiling some water with dried dates (just a few), ginger, garlic, and ginseng. When it comes to a rolling boil, she drops in a whole chicken and lets it simmer for awhile. Then she takes out the chicken and picks the meat off to put in the soup.
Other times she will bring the leftover soup stock to a boil and drop in a cornish game hen stuffed with sweet rice. I think the rice is raw, but has been soaked overnight beforehand. Sorry, I know this is not very exact, but I'm just going on my memory here. I can ask her for more details if you are still in need...but I hope you feel better soon!

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Hope you feel better soon Alice! I know what you mean about cravings when you're feeling under-the-weather.

I love chicken congee (rice porridge) with lots of shallots and a splash of soy.

2-minute Noodle Cook said...

There was this recipe in Martin Yan's Chinatown show for "Cure-All Steamed Chicken with Chinese Herbs" at http://www.foodtv.ca/tv/shows/titledetails/title_46487.asp. The link no longer works. But the ingredients are: chicken. ginger,shiitake mushroom, ginseng root, wolfberries, dried longan, red dates, and Chinese rice wine. The chicken is blanched in boiling water, removed and then placed, with fresh water and all the ingredients, in a casserole and steamed for 2 hours. I hope you feel better soon.

Alice said...

Ted,

We should try it one of these days along with the homemade udon!!!!

Uchipu,

Mmmmm. That sounds good too! I have to go visit NYC very soon for an epicurean trip!

Starchmouse,

That is a wonderful beginning of a recipe. I am going to soak the rice overnight one of these weekend nights. Do you know what else might be in there - I seem to remember some kind of spicy concoction in the sweet rice... Thank you so much for the tips!!!!

And do you know if the seasoning is just salt or is there something else?

Augustus,

Congee is the ultimate Japanese in-times-of-illness dish too!!! So nourishing!!!!

2-minute noodle cook,

Wow, that gives me a lot to go on! Dried shiitake is a great addition. I've never seen dried longans or wolfberries before, but I wonder if I can substitute with raisins...


I'm might just have to give it a go this weekend with an original recipe from all these tips!!!!!

Ma-chan said...

Hi, Alice-chan. This is まあ! Are you feeling better now?

I asked my friend who owns Korean restaurant in Milpitas if Samgetang is served at his restaurant. Answer is no, and he doesn't know anywhere that make it good. He just had a Samgetang for lunch at home though!! He also said most restaurants don't serve Samgetang unless the restaurant is specialized for it. It must be eaten when it's freshly made, he said.

My husband eats matzo ball soup when he is sick.

2-minute Noodle Cook said...

Hey Alice, those wolfberries are the orange-red things in the my DMBLGIT entry of the red rice porridge in your "Finale" writeup. For the savoury dish, carrot is the best substitute as wolfberries contain high vitamin C and beta carotene/vitamin A, just like carrots. I have picture of wolfberries here. Fellow food blogger, J the Pseudo Chef of cookandeat.blogspot.com call them Lycii berries. For sweet dishes, craisins (sweetened cranberries) can be used in place of wolfberries...

starchmouse said...

Hi Alice,

Growing up we never had spicy rice inside the cornish game hens - this might be because my brother and I didn't tackle anything spicy until a later age. Also, this is one soup in my childhood that was never seasoned during cooking - no MSG, and not even any salt! It was served with a little individual dish of salt so we each put in however much we wanted.

I think if you want a little spicy kick, you can make a spicy garlic salt to add right before eating. I don't know what it is called, but it looks like a powder-paste mixture made of chopped green onions, chopped garlic, salt, sesame seeds, and hot pepper powder. The pepper powder is bright red and really can't be substituted with cayenne or red pepper flakes. It's a pretty basic ingredient you can find at a korean grocery store...

Alice said...

Ma-chan,

Thank you so much for asking around!!! I'm still sick like a dog, but I'm holding on... Sounds like my best bet is to get my lazy butt in the kitchen and make it myself!

2-min noodle cook,

I knew wolfberries sounded so familiar!!! It was from your post!! Thanks for the substitution tip. As soon as I can handle myself in the kitchen again, I'm going to make me a tasty chicken soup!!

Starchmouse,

Oh my goodness, now that you mention it, I do remember the salt dish neext to the soup in my meal in Korea!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder if the seasoning you mention is what we call kochujan in Japan - but that's more like a bean paste... There is so much for me to learn about Korean cooking - I think I need to get a good cook book! Do you (or your mom) have any recommendations?!

starchmouse said...

Kochujang is an actual paste, and much sweeter. The stuff I mentioned is not really paste-like, but the moisture from the chopped up garlic holds it together.

Hmm...cookbooks. I've never really seen any korean cookbooks in english! All the ones we have at home are in korean, and some of them are really good...feel like learning korean? It's really easy! :) Although there may be some that are translated into japanese. I'll ask my mom, they often browse around the japanese book store...