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This funny Korean word represents a salty umami flavor bomb. Every family, like most home cooking, makes it their way, and Jenny’s is the best!  Traditionally this sauce is for bite sized wraps stuffed with sticky rice, kimchi, mushrooms or meat. The family tradition is to sit around the table and try to make tiny little burrito bites, which is quite an impossible feat. Everyone is so excited about the sauce, the ingredients and stuffing them in your mouth. Being a little hungry doesn’t hurt. This adventuresome meal is topped with a sauce that kicks. I would call it pleasure and food, perfect for diving right in!

At the show on Saturday we served Ssamjang with cooked cabbage leaves and rice while Sunday’s event was served with sauce, rice and romaine lettuce hearts. Click here for the ssamjang paste recipe.

Here are a few notes to help you get it right:

  • Dice the vegetables as tiny as you can, they should slightly disappear in the sauce.
  • Before you cook the cabbage remove the stem with a pairing knife and separate the leaves. I dropped the pulled apart cabbage head into a pasta draining pot of boiling water for 12 minutes. The longer you cook the leaves the sweeter they get.
  • If you plan on serving this at a party or taking it to a pot luck, consider using Romaine lettuce leaves for the presentation, it’s quite stunning and easy to transport.  I purchased the hearts from Costco and used one head per serving platter.
  • The sauce is served at room temperature and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Combining brown rice with sticky white rice, a one to one ratio helps to keep the bundles nice and tight.

Everyone who sampled this at our booth exclaimed WOW ~ it has a wonderful surprise, not to hot, a just right kind of thing!  If you want to tone it down for your children increase the miso, we used white miso, and decrease the amount of Gochujang paste.

Gochujang is sold in many layers of heat, sometimes a choice of five levels of hot pepper paste heat.  The one you tasted at the show was medium hot. You’ll find this popular paste wherever Korean foods are sold.  It’s a favorite household item, similar to America’s love for ketchup on fries. Check out H-mart for a huge supply.

Cooking from the heart,