Thursday, December 29, 2011

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).

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