Literally translated to "wrapping sauce," ssamjang is a Korean condiment traditionally used to top meats wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaves. Made of red miso, chile paste, green onions, garlic, sugar and sesame oil, it's spicy and salty with a distinct fermented complexity that makes it interesting. You can use it as a sauce, stir it into braises or glaze grilled meats with it for a caramelized, spicy crust.
While the paste is quite thick, it can be thinned out with water depending on your intended use. For a meat glaze or dipping sauce, thin the paste until it coats the back of the spoon. You can add sesame seeds to the sauce if you intend to use it raw, but the seeds will burn if there is any further cooking.
To learn more, read "Edward Kim's Secret Weapon."
Recipe adapted from Edward Kim, Mott St., Chicago, IL
Yield: 1½ cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: N/A
Total Time: 10 minutes
¾ cup red miso
¾ cup gochujang
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño—stemmed, seeded and minced
1 shallot, minced
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mix until a thick paste forms. Use immediately or transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to 1 month.