Reminiscent of the ginseng chicken soup known as samgyetang, this recipe calls for stuffing a Cornish game hen with rice and then simmering it in an aromatic broth. Like samgyetang, it can be used to “fight fire with fire,” the Korean custom of consuming hot foods at the height of summer to balance body heat with the season’s steamy temperatures.
Put the cooked rice in a medium bowl. Heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is toasted and golden brown, 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the garlic and sesame oil over the rice. Set the pot aside. Season the rice with 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir with a fork until combined, breaking up any lumps.
Stuff the cavity of each hen with 1/2 cup of the rice mixture. Overlap the skin flaps to enclose the rice inside the hens, fold the legs closed and tie with kitchen twine.
Place the hens breast-side down in the reserved pot and add the chicken broth, 2 cups water, shallots, ginger, scallion whites, smashed garlic cloves, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming the foam that rises to the top. Partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then use a spatula and a spoon to gently turn the hens breast-side up, being careful not to break the skin (they will float). Continue to simmer, partially-covered, until the hen breasts are firm and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes more.
Meanwhile, make the sauces. Combine the soy sauce and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the sesame oil, sesame seeds, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in another small bowl and set aside.
Using a slotted spoon and tongs, remove the hens from the liquid, place them on a cutting board and remove the kitchen twine. Slice along the top of the breastbone to cut each hen into 2 halves, keeping the rice inside the cavity. Strain the broth through a sieve. Place each hen half in a wide, shallow bowl (rice side down) and divide the soup among the bowls. Garnish the soup with scallion greens and serve with the sesame sauce, soy-vinegar sauce, kimchi and seaweed.
This recipe has been updated to more accurately recognize its origin or to add cultural context. It may differ from what was originally published or broadcast.
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