This funny looking word is a salty umami bomb. It's made specifically for a Korean dish called ssam, which is basically meat and kimchi wrapped in lettuce. Just like with most home cooking, every family makes it differently, with theirs being the best of course. Traditionally the wraps are supposed to be bite sized, which is why my favorite memory of this dish is watching my family excitedly stuff as much as possible into their lettuce bundle, and try to shove it all into their face at one time. This is probably why I can't make a small burrito or spring roll to save my life.
This dip is simple to make, and uses every day Korean ingredients. When I’m using it for lettuce wraps, I like to put it together with a little bit of rice, thin pork belly, mushrooms, kimchi and the dip on top, wrapped in a small lettuce leaf cup. And if you're really down to party, a slice of raw garlic on top for good measure … AKA, the truest test of affection.
Ssamjang - Korean Dip
Makes about 1 cup
½ cup doenjang
3 Tablespoons gochujang
3-5 green onions
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon gochugaru
Pinch of sesame seeds
Mince the garlic cloves and rough chop all of the green onions into small pieces.
In a bowl, mix the doenjang, gochujang, sesame seed oil, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, gochugaru and sesame seeds together.
Fold in the the garlic and green onions into the dip until evenly incorporated. Garnish with more sesame seeds or green onions.
- This can be made ahead, and kept in the fridge for more than a week.
- Serve at room temperature.