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Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 in Korean Food, Recipes, Vegetarian | 19 comments

Secret Recipe Club: Raspberry Ssamjang (라즈베리 쌈장)

Secret Recipe Club: Raspberry Ssamjang (라즈베리 쌈장)

I have this obsession of taking every non-Korean recipe and trying to put a Korean spin on it. When I have a “eureka” moment, the result is published here.

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Just a suggestion: Serve this sauce with some grilled Korean barbecue and lettuce or large leafy herb (깻잎 kkaennip/shiso/perilla shown here) for a low-carb lunch or dinner. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)

My current “eureka” moment comes from a recipe posted on a site called  Amy’s Cooking Adventures. I took her Spicy Raspberry Sauce and transformed it into a Koreafornian concoction Raspberry Ssamjang. (Thanks to the Secret Recipe Club.)

Ssamjang (쌈장) is a spicy paste made from fermented soybean paste (된장 doenjang), red pepper paste (고추장 gochujang), sesame oil and seasonings such as green onion and garlic. Ssamjang is sold in most Korean grocery stores in small or large green tubs. If you don’t read Korean, just look for the green tubs. 

Ssam is Korean for “wrapping”;  jang, for sauce. So ssamjang is a sauce made for flavoring leaves for wrapping around food.

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Ssam show and tell: A kkaennip leaf is smeared with raspberry ssamjang and topped with grilled spicy Korean chicken. (Jeff Quackenbush photo)

For barbecued and grilled foods, Koreans will take a piece of or whole leaf of lettuce or a broad-leafed herb such as 깻잎 kkaennip (perilla in English), spread some ssamjang on it, top with meat and rice, and pop it in their mouths like a small bite-sized sushi roll.

This isn’t the first ssamjang I’ve made that excluded the basic doenjang, gochujang and sesame oil combo. In May I developed Peanut Ssamjang. Now, with the Raspberry Ssamjang, I have the makings for a weird peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The combination of the pectin in the raspberry jam and the cornstarch
thickened the sauce nicely, thick, yet spreadable. If you leave out the
cornstarch it would still be thick and saucy enough to cling to your
lettuce wrap.

Raspberry Ssamjang (라즈베리 쌈장)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 clove minced garlic (for more zip, use 5-6 cloves)
½ cup water
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 cup fresh raspberries or sugar free raspberry jam
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, if using jam)
4 tablespoon kkaenip, chopped


  1. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the jalapeno, onion, and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender, or five to eight minutes.
  2. Add ½ cup of water to the pan, and whisk in the chicken bouillon. Add the raspberries — I had sugar-free jam on hand – and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce.
  3. Add salt and pepper. Whisk in the corn starch. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Remove the pot from heat. Stir in the kkaenip. (The original recipe called for mint, but the flavor of kkaenip is between that of mint and basil.)
  5. Serve with the grilled Korean BBQ of your choice, such as bulgogi or dakkalbi.


  1. Does look very tempting and delicious! Great SRC post.

  2. wow~ looks delicious~<br />I will try to makt it!! <br />Thank you~^^

  3. Wow. Talk about owning a SRC post. This is outstanding. Great twist on raspberry jam!

  4. Super creative recipe, so glad you blended the two together. I bet this would make a nice salad dressing too!

  5. yum!! i need to try that! Glad to be in Group C with you!!

  6. My brother spent 2 years in Korea on a mission for our church. He makes some wicked delicious Korean food! I&#39;ll send him this recipe! It looks fun.

  7. What a fun recipe! I love that you make 2 worlds meet and with such great results! The sauce looks mouthwatering! 🙂

  8. Oh wow, what a fun and interesting SRC post! I don&#39;t think I&#39;ve ever eaten Korean food, but just looking at your pictures is enough to make me want to try some!

  9. Really interesting post. I don&#39;t know much about Korean food but would love to try it.

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  11. What an interesting idea! It coincided with my recent creation of ssamjang with pineapple. I love your blog and recipes. I&#39;m blogging for, which is run by Korea Tourism Org, and wish more people can join the community to share thoughts and recipes on Korean food. They are going to hold a blogging contest and some other events tha give away prizes so check it out and apply to be

  12. Wow, it&#39;s great to be with you in SRC, I can learn one or two thing about korean food, as I love trying new concepts in cooking!, it looks great with lovely colour, now I have a spicy recipe for Rasberry! lovely clicks too…

  13. Very creative! Looking forward to trying this recipe (and having a reason to visit my local Korean market).


  1. Food for Thought: Koreafornian Cooking - Burnt My Fingers - […] it. When I have a ‘eureka’ moment, the result is published here.” Take a look at Raspberry Ssamjang which…

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