Ssamjang is a common Korean condiment served with many types of grilled, boiled, or stir fried meats. There are many different variations ranging from sweet and mild to salty and very hot, from a thin almost liquid paste to a thick almost solid paste. This is a basic version to get you started. Feel free to adjust quantities and ingredients until you arrive at the taste and texture you like best.
soybean paste (Korean-doenjang/Japanese-Miso)
gochujang (Korean chili paste) **
fresh red chili pepper
fresh green chili pepper
water as needed
Asian chives for green onions
Shallots for green onions
Green or young garlic (similar in appearance to green onions)
coarse ground black pepper
Any Korean grilled or stir fried meat dish like Bulgogi
red leaf lettuce (or other large leaf vegetable)
fresh jalapeño peppers
- Finely chop (mince) the garlic, chili peppers, and green onion.
- In a small mixing bowl, add all Ssam jang ingredients and mix well.
- Add a small amount of water if needed to maintain a mixable paste.
- Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Separate lettuce leaves, rinse, and drain. Gently pat dry and place on a serving plate.
- Thin slice the garlic and peppers, and place in separate small dishes.
- Serve with a grilled meat or fish main dish and one bowl of rice for each diner.
How to Eat
- Take one lettuce leaf and place in the palm of one hand, add a small spoonful of rice, a piece meat from the meat dish, slice of pepper and garlic, a piece of kimchi, and a dab of the Ssam jang. Close the leaf into a ball and eat the whole roll in one bite. A little practice may be needed to get that “one mouth full” size right.
- May also be used as a dip for steamed or grilled firm vegetables like asparagus, carrot, bok choy, celery, etc.