It’s Autumn here in Australia. But still in my mind April means spring, with lots of beautiful flower blossoms and also more fresh herbs to make Namul banchan (seasoned vegetables or herbal side dishes) or Ssam (wraps) – in Korea that is.
Are you familiar with Ssam? Ssam means any wrapped food in edible leaves or wet seaweed like kombu. If you had meat in lettuce at a Korean restaurant that is called Ssam as well.
One type of Ssam I love is Ssambap (쌈밥). Ssambap is wrapped rice in edible leaves or some leafy seaweed. It is known as a healthy diet meal, because lettuce (or cabbage) makes you feel satisfied sooner. However, the material that is contained in lettuce, called lactcarium, can make you sleepy after the meal, so we need to watch out for that.
There are also some Korean restaurants specializing in Ssambap. They have a menu called “Ssambap Jeongsik” (consider this as Ssambap combo) which includes various kinds of leaves with dipping sauce, several side dishes, soup or stew and Jeyuk bokkum (stir fried spicy pork). Man, my mouth starts to water thinking of these already.
(Homemade Jeyuk Bokkum – January 2007 )
The key point of making delicious Ssambap is making delicious Ssamjang, the dipping sauce. Every restaurant has their own secret recipe for this. Me? I don’t have a secret recipe, I am not a specialist at this. However I found a simple and interesting recipe from the free recipe book that came with a magazine.
The dipping sauce turned out sweet but also a bit spicy. But to be honest, it might go better as a Bibimbap sauce rather than as a dipping sauce. Yet give it a try! You never know how you might feel about it.
-Cabbage wraps (for 2 people)
- 600g steamed cabbage
- Steamed plain rice
-Ssamjang (enough to serve 6-8 people)
- 1 cup of Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
- 100g beef mince
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp grated Nashi pear (or Korean pear)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
-Marinade sauce for beef mince (mix these well)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp minced green shallots
- little ground black pepper
- Marinade the beef mince with the marinade sauce, leave it for 5 minutes.
- Pre heat the wok on high heat for 10-20 seconds then add 1 tbsp of sesame oil in the wok.
- Add the marinade beef and stir it fast.
- When the meat is nearly cooked add the pear and stir it.
- Add the Gochujang and stir it occasionally for about 6-10 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the sesame oil, sugar, and honey, then stir.
- Turn the heat off.
- Serve the Ssamjang (dipping sauce) with steamed cabbage and rice or you can make the roll then serve.
Note : When you serve the Ssamjang, you should scoop out an adequate amount for the size of the meal. You can store the rest of the sauce in a sealed container in the fridge. It should last for at least a month.
Some recipes for Ssambap Jeongsik