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Ssambap (Korean Rice Lettuce Wraps)

Easy Ssambap recipe!

Are you familiar with ssam? Ssam (쌈) means any wrapped food in edible leaves and edible seaweed. If you have tried Korean BBQ meat in some lettuce leaves, that is called ssam as well.

Ssambap

One type of ssam I love is Ssambap (쌈밥).

What is Ssambap

Essentially, ssambap means rice wrapped in leaves. These leaves can be any edible leaves that are fresh or lightly steamed, and also that are large enough to wrap rice and condiments.

Popular leaves include lettuce, Korean perilla leaves, squash leaves, kale leaves, bok choy leaves, cabbage leaves, and napa cabbage leaves.

However, some people also use edible seaweeds such as brown seaweed (미역) and kelp / kombu (다시마) as a wrapper too.

Why is Ssambap Popular

Ssambap is a popular Korean rice dish. I don’t know why but us Koreans love wrapping rice (or anything edible) in green leafy vegetables! LOL

Ssambap can be eaten all year round, but the most popular time is during spring and summer as there are more fresh vegetables to accompany it.

Also, ssambap is known as a healthy diet meal, particularly when it is served with cabbage leaves. Because it makes you feel fuller sooner and longer, so you don’t feel the need to eat as much.

There are also many Korean restaurants specializing in Ssambap too.

They will often have a menu called “Ssambap Jeongsik” (쌈밥정식), which includes various leaves with various dipping sauces, several side dishes, soup or stew and some stir fried meat.

It’s quite filling and delicious! My mouth is watering just writing about it. 😉

How to Serve Ssambap

In its simplest form, you can serve ssambap with some steamed rice, green leafy vegetables and a dipping sauce (known as ssamjang).

To make it fancier, you can season the steamed rice with some salt, sesame oil and sesame seeds as well. (Which is what I did in this recipe.)

FYI, some even more fancier rice is mixed with seasoned dried anchovies or cooked minced beef as well. The sky is the limit!

Also, you can make the whole ssambap experience DIY or serve / decorate as shown in the picture above, which is more work for the cook/host. What’s more appealing to you?

Finally, as I mentioned previously, there are some great companion dishes to serve with ssambap if you choose to go this path. Below are some of my suggestions. 🙂

Meat

Soup

Side dishes

Last Tips

I think the key point of making delicious ssambap is making delicious ssamjang (쌈장), the dipping sauce.

Because, if you have delicious sauce, you don’t really need any extra side dishes to enjoy your meal. Rice, leaves and the dipping sauce is all you need! Trust me!

Ingredients for Ssambap

Rice and Rice seasoning – Makes about 14 rice balls

  • 2 cups steamed short grain rice (sushi rice)
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Wrapper Options

  • lettuce (e.g. baby cos, buttercup etc)
  • perilla leaves
  • kale leaves
  • bok choy leaves
  • green cabbage
  • napa cabbage (yellow leaves, inner part of the cabbage are suitable)

Ssamjang Options

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml
** If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my essential Korean ingredients list!

How to Make Ssambap

1. If you’re using fresh green leaves, rinse them well in running water and drain the water well. Depending how you serve, you may want to cut the stem off, so they fold better.

If you’re using leaves that are a bit stiff (e.g. cabbage leaves), you may want to steam them first. Here’s how to steam the cabbage.

  • Peel and remove any tough / damaged outer layers of cabbage leaves.
  • Cut the cabbage into quarters (from a whole cabbage).
  • Cut off the core of the cabbage leaves and cut the cabbage wedge length way to further remove the hard stems.
  • Separate the cabbage leaves from the head.
  • Rinse the cabbage leaves under running water.
  • Boil some water in a steamer pot over medium high heat. Once the water is rolling boiling, add the cabbage leaves into the steamer. Steam the leaves until the leaves are soft, about 10 mins.
  • Remove the steamer from the heat and cool the leaves down for about 5 mins (or until safe to touch) then gently shake off any residue water from the leaves.

How to steam cabbage

2. Combine the rice and rice seasoning ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix them well. If serving ssambap pre-assembled, scoop out some seasoned rice and make it into a bite sized ball.

Seasoned rice for ssambap

Cabbage rolls with rice

3. Serve the ball of rice on a leaf, then top with ssamjang sauce. (You can place the sauce inside of the wrap or outside of the wrap depending how you roll/wrap/serve.)

Korean rice lettuce wraps | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Make Ahead Tips

  • To save time, you can prepare the leafy vegetables, rice and the sauce components all at different times. You can easily store pre-rinsed & spun dried leafy vegetables in a container in the fridge for a few days. Also, the dipping sauce, depending on what you’re making, can last for a few days to up to one month.
  • The rice can be served warm or at room temperature (per your preference), so you can plan it accordingly.

 


Korean rice lettuce wraps | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Ssambap (Korean Rice Lettuce Wraps)

How to Make Korean rice lettuce wraps (Ssambap)
4.5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: rice wrap, ssambap
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 14 balls
Calories: 36kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

RICE AND RICE SEASONING

WRAPPER OPTIONS

  • lettuces
  • perilla leaves
  • kale leaves
  • bok choy leaves
  • green cabbage
  • napa cabbage (yellow leaves, inner part of the cabbage are suitable)

SSAMJANG OPTIONS

Instructions

  • If you’re using fresh green leaves, rinse them well in running water and drain the water well. Depending how you serve, you may want to cut the stem off, so they fold better.
    If you’re using leaves that are a bit stiff (e.g. cabbage leaves), you may want to steam them first. Here’s how to steam the cabbage.
    -Peel and remove any tough / damaged outer layers of cabbage leaves.
    -Cut the cabbage into quarters (from a whole cabbage).
    -Cut off the core of the cabbage leaves and cut the cabbage wedge length way to further remove the hard stems.
    -Separate the cabbage leaves from the head.
    -Rinse the cabbage leaves under running water.
    -Boil some water in a steamer pot over medium high heat. Once the water is rolling boiling, add the cabbage leaves into the steamer. Steam the leaves until the leaves are soft, about 10 mins.
    -Remove the steamer from the heat and cool the leaves down for about 5 mins (or until safe to touch) then gently shake of any residue water from the leaves.
  • Combine the rice and rice seasoning ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix them well. If serving ssambap pre-assembled, scoop out some seasoned rice and make it into a bite sized ball.
  • Serve the ball of rice on a leaf then top with ssamjang sauce. (You can place the sauce inside of the wrap or outside of the wrap depending how you roll/wrap/serve.)

Nutrition

Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Potassium: 6mg | Calcium: 0.1% | Iron: 2.3%
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

 

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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11 thoughts on “Ssambap (Korean Rice Lettuce Wraps)”

  1. Hi Ama, To steam the cabbage, cut the whole cabbage into 1/2 then trim the outer layer and rinse the cabbage in runny water. Then steam it in a steamer. You could use a sauce pan steamer (add some hot water and boil, steam the cabbage above the water) or a bamboo steamer. I assumed everyone would know how to steam the cabbage. Sorry about this. 🙂 I hope you enjoy my recipe. Just a note, the dipping sauce (ssamjang) for this recipe is quite spicy, so you might want to adjust the level of spiciness.)

  2. I just discovered your blog through EatDrinknbMerry and I’m loving it so far~

    My mom puts crushed nuts in her ssamjang and it’s so delicious.

  3. Hi Sue!!

    I just made the ssamjang! it is VERY spicy!!! But very delicious!!! I had it with plain rice and it goes so well together!! I had to go for seconds!!!

    Thanks!!! 😀

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