Thursday, December 29, 2011

KOREAN RECIPE: Perilla Rice Wraps

깻잎쌈밥 (Ggaennip Ssambap)

Blanched perilla wraps with braised egg circles

What is Korean perilla? Click the link below to learn more about it.


Korean perilla leaves*
2 cups Korean rice, white or brown**, cooked and mixed with 1 TBSP sesame oil and ½ TBSP salt.***
spicy sauce paste (쌈장, Ssamjang) Click here for the recipe.

*You can find perilla leaves or ggaennip in your local Korean markets.
**Brown rice tastes the best when it is cooked in a pressure rice cooker.  Brown rice is healthier than white rice.  Here’s why.
***If you prefer, you can substitute vegetable fried rice for plain rice.  If you are a health-conscious cook, then just use plain rice instead of seasoned or fried rice.


1. Wash your perilla leaves.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add in a pinch or two of salt.
3. Put the perilla leaves in the boiling water and allow them to boil for 3~5 seconds.  Be careful not to overcook as this will make the leaves mushy and deplete the nutritional value.
4. Drain the excess water from the perilla leaves with a slotted spoon or strainer.
5. Put the blanched perilla leaves in the ice water.  Leave them in the water until no longer warm. This will help stop the cooking process, retain the nutrients, and prevent discoloration.
6. Drain the perilla leaves through a strainer and pat them dry.
7. Place a perilla leaf on the cutting board.  Put the back side facing upwards.  If the leaf is too small, use one more, overlapping them lengthwise. 


8. Scoop up a dollop, about ¼~ ½ teaspoon, of spicy Korean sauce paste, ssamjang, and place it in the middle of the perilla leaf.

Korean sauce paste, ssamjang

Steps 7-8

9. Take ¾ ~1 TBSP of the rice and place it on top of the sauce paste.
10. Fold over the leafstalk side toward the tip of the leaf.
11. Fold over two corners.
12. Roll the ball toward the tip of the leaf till the edges seal.

Steps 9-10
Steps 11-12

13. Perilla rice wraps can be served whole or cut in half to display the contents.

Blanched perilla wraps 
with barbecued beef short ribs (galbi) 


1. Wash your perilla leaves and pat them dry.
2. Cut off the leafstalks of the perilla leaves with a kitchen knife or kitchen scissors.
3. Make a cut to the center of each perilla leaf along the midrib.
4. Fold the leaves, overlapping the edges, and you now have cone-shaped leaves.

Steps 2-4

5. Take ¾ ~1 TBSP of the rice to form it into a small ball.
6. Place the rice ball in the middle of the cone-shaped perilla leaf.
7. Scoop up a dollop, about ¼~ ½ teaspoon, of spicy Korean sauce paste, ssamjang, and place it on top of the rice. 
8. Serve the wraps in a quiche or pie plate to help them keep their shape instead of spreading.

Mixed grains – brown and black whole grain rice, 
barley, and millet – are used here instead of white rice.



KOREAN RECIPE: Spicy Korean Sauce Paste

쌈장 (Ssamjang)



● ½ lb mushrooms*, chopped
● ½ medium-sized onion, chopped 
● ½ lb hard dubu (aka tofu), smashed and drained 
● 1 tsp ginger juice
● 1 TBSP gochujang** (Korean hot pepper paste)
● 2 TBSP doenjang** (Korean soybean paste)
● 1 TBSP perilla seed powder** (optional)
● 1 TBSP wine or cooking wine***
● 1 tsp garlic, minced
● 3 tsp green onion, chopped 
● 1 TBSP sesame seeds, toasted 
● 2 TBSP sesame oil
● 1 TBSP brown sugar, or cane sugar, or honey ****
● 2 TBSP water

*Use a variety of mushrooms, from Pyogo (aka Shiitake) and Saesongi (pine mushrooms) to Neutari (oyster mushrooms) and Yangsongi (button mushrooms) or a mixture. 

● If you prefer, you can substitute drained canned tuna, flying fish roe, ground pork, or a variety of ground nuts (walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and other nuts) for mushrooms.

**You can find gochujang, doenjang, and perilla seed powder in your local Korean markets.

***Cooking wines tend to be cheap and contain salt and additional spices and flavors.  You’d better  avoid cooking wines and try to use regular wine - red (Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) or white (Chardonnay) - instead.

****If you are not a big fan of sugar, you can reduce the amount in this recipe to ½ TBSP or eliminate it.

1. Heat sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
2. Add chopped onion, mushrooms, and ginger juice into the pan. Sauté until the mixture is softened.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer the mixture until combined and just thickened.
4. Use as a sauce (like Mexican salsa) for vegetable rice/meat wraps (쌈밥, Ssambap).