Today’s recipe is a variation on dipping sauce (ssamjang: 쌈장), using a small apple instead of sugar.
You wouldn’t believe how excited I was when I developed this easy and simple recipe! Around that time I was also starting to write my cookbook, and this apple ssamjang quickly became my regular go-to meal, because it was easy and quick to make, and so healthy and energizing. The small pieces of apple make it fresh and sweet, and cut the saltiness from the doenjang. It also gives it a refreshing crispy texture. I fell in love!
Does the idea of making a chunky dipping sauce sound a little familiar to you? Yes, I think I was inspired by watching women make salsa in Mexico. They always chop the ingredients into little bits with a knife.
I eat apple ssamjang in the traditional Korean ssam style, in wraps of fresh lettuce and greens with multigrain rice. Each wrap is made one at a time, on the spot, with whatever greens you choose. Each wrap should be small enough to eat in one bite. It’s a delicious, light meal in itself. I don’t make apple ssamjang to serve with Korean BBQ, I make regular ssamjang for that.
I ate this apple ssamjang off and on for more than a year as I finished my book, and I loved it so much I included it in the book, too! Ever since then it’s been one of my all time favorites and the recipe I make most often from my cookbook.
Not long after my cookbook was launched, someone left a nice review on Amazon saying how delicious my apple ssamjang recipe is. I felt a real connection with that reviewer: “Oh, she loves what I love!”
- ¼ cup fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
- 1 tablespoon Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)
- 1 small sweet apple, such as Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and cut into 1∕8-inch dice (about ¾ cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon toasted toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Lettuce and greens
- Multigrain rice or white rice
- Combine the soybean paste, hot pepper paste, apple, garlic,green onions, and toasted sesame oil in a small bowl and mix well.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
- Arrange the greens and herbs in a shallow basket or on a platter.
Serve & eat
- Hold a lettuce leaf in your palm and add any other greens to it, if using. Scoop a bit of rice on top. Don’t make it too big, the wrap will be one bite’s worth, in total.
- Spoon some of the apple ssamjang on top of the rice.
- Fold the lettuce around the rice and sauce, and pop the wrap into your mouth in one bite. This dish is best eaten right away, as the ssamjang will separate if left to sit too long.