Korean Dipping Sauce (Ssamjang)
Ssamjang (쌈장) is a thick, spicy paste used as a dipping sauce for food wrapped in a leaf in Korean cuisine. The sauce is made of doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions, and a hint of sugar.
This paste is used dressing up the Korean grilled BBQ on a lettuce, perilla or steamed cabbage leaf called ssambap. You simply dab a small amount of sauce with a pair of chopsticks on to a piece of meat or lettuce.
What’s the difference between doenjang, gochujang, and ssamjang?
Ssamjang is basically gochujang and doenjang combined, with some addition of aromatic ingredients such as sesame, garlic, it brings the best of the both world. This sauce is used to top up on grilled meats, variety type of Korean style vegetable wraps, or just to dip in fresh vegetable sticks.
It is easy to make ssamjang at home. See my Bossam (Korean pork belly) post for the recipe. But for a convenience, commercially made ssamjang is widely used in most Korean homes. If you are not happy with the taste of store-bought ssamjang, you can easily add sesame oil, minced garlic ,or chopped green onion to temper the flavor.
How to store Ssamjang
The best way to keep ssamjang as fresh as possible after opening is to refrigerate it. The cold will slow down the spoilage. Ssamjang paste go dry faster than other Korean condiment paste once opened, so I recommend purchasing a smaller size container and consume it sooner.