This is the perfect season to savour all the greens that have endured the cold winter and have now sprouted out of the ground full of life. In particular, before the flowers blossom, the leaves are very tender and flavourful. What is the best way to enjoy all the spring greens? Ssäm, which means ‘wrapped’ in Korean. It is a traditional dish in Korea, where it is usually served to complement the entree which in most cases is a meat dish such as Bulgogi.
However, I have prepared a completely plant-based dish using Yves Veggie Burgers to substitute the Bulgogi. If you have some other veggie meats in your fridge you can use that instead but just make sure they are not flavoured with different herbs and seasonings.
I am not sure if you have noticed, but unlike traditional Ssäm, vegetables are taking up the main place here. If you don’t have meat alternatives or are trying to avoid processed meat substitutes, not to worry, because the sauce is already packed with lots of protein itself as you will see in the recipe that you don’t need to have an extra protein source.
What goes really well with Ssäm is avocado and a thinly sliced garlic with sauce. Now if you are not a raw garlic eater, I don’t recommend this because you can’t avoid smelling like garlic for the entire day or maybe two, but if you wanna go for the real experiences then try it out. It is so worth your garlic breath!
The green leaves I used for this recipe here are Ramps, Dandelion leaves, Romaine lettuce and some other vegetables cut up to eat with Ssäm. You can use any type of lettuce you can find in the market, such as Kale, Boston lettuce, Chicory, Collards, Butter lettuce and etc., I love making Ssäm, because it is such a great way to eat a large amount of vegetables in one sitting. If you have a hard time eating vegetables, try this dish and see if you like it.
You use the greens to wrap all the small components that are served here. First, pick a large leafy green, in this case, Romaine lettuce, then add one or two pieces of Ramps and Dandelion leaves along with a small spoon of rice and a small piece of garlic on top, add a little bit of Bulgogi and sauce on top. You really don’t need a lot of rice for the wrap because the point of this dish is to eat as much vegetables as possible. I still remember when I was young my mom had such a thick layer of vegetables, like 5 or 6 of leaves stacked all together that when you wrap them up it just became a huge ball that could hardly fit my mouth.
Another amazing thing about this recipe is that the sauce is so nutritious and tasty without having to add a lot of oil like some salad dressings.
The main ingredient for the sauce is called Dwenjang which is a fermented soybean paste, that has been made generations after generations in Korea. Each household has heirloom recipes that are learned from mothers or grand mothers, but nowadays people mostly buy them from stores. However, some families in Korea keep the heirloom recipe for generations and they sell custom made Dwenjang which is more valued than the commercial ones. Anyways, for this recipe store-bought Dwenjang will suffice and if you only have Miso in your fridge, you can substitute with Dwenjang; however, if you want to enjoy a more traditional Ssäm-jang then definitely go for Dwenjang.
Yields: 2 servings
1/2 Romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 red peppers
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Prepare a platter of any varieties of lettuce you like.
If you have any other vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots, cut them into finger length and serve on a platter along with sliced garlics.
Slice one avocado ( not shown in the picture) per serving to eat with Ssäm.
Yields: 2 servings
1 T Soy sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1 clove garlic
1 tsp rice syrup
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup carrots, julienned (kitchen tip)
1 tsp sesame seed oil
162g of Yves Veggie Burger ( 2 patties)
1 tsp vegetable oil
In a small blender add soy sauce, onion powder, garlic, rice syrup and sesame seed oil, and blend all together until it becomes a smooth sauce.
Cut Yves Veggie Burgers into thick slices and add them to a bowl. If you don’t have Yves Veggie Burger, use any kind of meat analogues as a substitute. In the same bowl, add carrots, green onions, and the sauce you made above.
Let it sit on a counter top while you make Ssäm-jang for about 30 min or less
Once it is marinaded, in a small pan add the mixture in the bowl and stir fry them for about 10 min on medium high heat or until it is browned a little.
Serve it with rice, Ssäm-jang and Vegetables. It lasts for about a week in a fridge.
Ssäm-jang (Dwenjang Sauce)
Yields: 2 servings
6-7 pieces of halved Walnuts
1 heaping tbsp Hemp Seeds
1 tsp sesame seed oil
2 tbsp Dwenjang
1tsp Gochujang (or substitute with Sriracha)
89 g or 1/2 cup soft Tofu
Add Walnuts, and Hemp seeds in the same blender that you used to make the sauce for Bugogi, and blend altogether. Add a little bit of water if it doesn’t blend well.
In a small bowl mix the paste you just made with Dwenjang and Gochujang. Once everything is nicely incorporated, add Tofu in the same bowl and crumble with a fork. Use the fork to mix the sauce until you don’t see pieces of Tofu, then finish it off with a drizzle of sesame seed oil
Serve with rice, vegetables and/or Bulgogi.
This is such a fun way to share lots of spring greens with your friends and families. All the little components of this menu are very authentic in taste. Perhaps for some of you, trying this dish means you are getting out of your comfort zone and doing something new that day. Make your own wraps in anyways you like and bon appetit!
As always, if you have any questions or comments leave it down below or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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