This sauce is sweet, a little spicy, and oh, so nutty!
Ssam sauce is a flavorful marinade for chicken, steak, pork, or tofu. I make this sauce in bulk and keep it stored in the fridge. It’s a quick marinade for any protein and tastes great in any stir fry. It’s pretty much good on anything!
The caramel burnt orange color comes from a mixture of gochujang and doenjang, both of which are used in making Ssamjang. Are you still following me?? Yeah, that’s a lot of jang for one sentence. So, let’s rewind. I’ve used gochujang in my gochujang caramel corn and most recently in my gochujang aioli so you’re pretty familiar with it. Doenjang is another commonly used Korean condiment that is made from fermented soybeans. It’s thick and pasty in texture and salty and almost nutty in flavor.
Ssamjang is a paste made from combining gochujang and doenjang. It’s always served with Ssam, a popular Korean meal where leafy lettuce is wrapped around rice and bite sized meats and topped off with Ssamjang. This was the inspiration behind this sauce. I wanted to boost up the flavor and thin out the texture to make it easy to pour on anything!
The secret flavor boost ingredient??? Wait for it…Roasted garlic! It doesn’t take long and it really adds a richness that raw garlic cannot. Plus, any leftover can be used as a garlic-y spread for bread or as a yummy addition to a tomato sauce. No garlic will ever be wasted….just have an altoid nearby!
I use this Ssam sauce in future recipes so I wanted it to take centerstage today. It’s a wonderful sauce to have on hand. It’s sweet and nutty and slightly spicy. Combine 5 ingredients in a food processor and voila, Ssam sauce! Make it, taste it, love it!
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 2 Tbsp Doenjang
- 1½ Tbsp Gochujang
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup mirin
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Cut one end of the garlic just enough to expose the cloves inside
- take a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil (about 1 Tbsp). Place garlic on top of oil cut side up so you can see the exposed cloves. Drizzle more olive oil, season with kosher salt and pepper
- Wrap garlic in the foil to cover and pop in oven for 40 minutes, until softened
- In mini food processor, add grapeseed oil, mirin, doenjang, gochujang and turn on to combine
- Squeeze roasted garlic cloves from peel when softened and add to processor (I add 10-12 cloves) and mix
- Once combined, add 1 Tbsp water to thin out the sauce.
- Pour into container, seal lid and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.