Thursday, April 24, 2014

Meatballs Ssambap

Here’s a good reason to keep a jar of ssamjang, that kick-ass Korean dipping sauce, handy in the fridge: Meatballs Ssambap! Ssambap is a Korean style of eating in which you wrap your meal—meat, rice, radish, kimchee—in lettuce leaves that are slathered with a sweet-spicy sauce called ssamjang. “Sssam” means wrap; “jang” means mix. Ssambap always includes rice (bap). Bossam on the other hand is a Korean wrap that includes slices of seasoned pork belly and new kimchee. Both are served with a variety of side dishes, or panchan. I love the variety of flavor between each bite. Ssambap is of my favorite casual summer meals; it takes the edge off those hot summer’s evenings.

These are my home-made meatballs left over from last night; my friend Elaine’s Calabrian mother, Lena Cardella, shared her recipe with me—I vowed not to disclose her Italian secrets. I brought these cold meatballs back to life by tossing them in ssamjang, wrapping them in a Romaine lettuce leaf with a schmeer of ssamjang, julienned jalpeños, some egg noodles (instead of rice) and toasted sesame seeds. There you have it—a quick meal that’s satisfying, refreshing and delicious. Some of my Korean classmates would take hotdog ssamjang to school or to picnics, neatly wrapped in lettuce, bun and all. Give it a shot. Click here for my ssamjang recipe.

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