The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic

Learn how to make ssambap - Korean lettuce wraps packed with a delicious savory filling.

If you are intrigued by Korean cuisine but don't have a Korean restaurant near you, then I have good news! This recipe will allow you to experience the delicious flavors of  a Korean speciality in the comfort of your home!

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps Photo

Ssambap are a Korean main dish - ssam means wrap and bap means rice, so essentially this is a rice wrap. However, you can often find these wraps full of beautifully seasoned meat too.

There are many different meats you can use in ssambap. Traditionally, pork belly wrapped in cabbage leaves or pig’s feet is used, but other popular options include short ribs or ribeye steak.

Interestingly, the way ssambap are eaten is different to the way Americans typically enjoy wraps. Whereas American wraps are packed full of food and eaten, Korean ssambap are enjoyed a little at a time and are actually meant to be bite-size portions.

How to make ssambap

To build your ssampbap at home, start out with some red leaf lettuce or boiled cabbage. White or brown rice can be used, and you can choose to either put it into the wrap or eat it on the side.

Add in the meat of your choice and top with traditional Korean sauce like red pepper paste or soybean paste.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps Picture

The wonderful thing about ssambap is that you can get as creative as you like, so you can really experiment with flavors. We love to add some kimchi to ours. 

When you have decided on your ssambap fillings, roll the rice into a ball and place it onto the red leaf lettuce. Lay your meat over the rice and top with the sauce of your choice. Wrap the lettuce leaf up and enjoy whole! 

Paleo Blackened Shrimp Lettuce Wraps Picture

One of our favorite meat options is bulgogi, which is thinly sliced ribeye. You can normally find bulgogi marinade in the world foods section of your local supermarket, but if not here is our go-to bulgogi marinade:

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons juice of an Asian pear

1 tablespoon mirin 

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon pepper 

1 pound ribeye beef, thinly sliced

1. Whisk together all of the ingredients except for the meat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the meat and mix well with your hands, ensuring the meat is completely coated. 

2. Marinate the beef for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. 

3. Once ready to cook, heat some oil in a pan and stir fry to your liking - the outside of the beef should caramelize. 

You can now use your freshly made beef bulgogi in your ssambap. 

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