It’s three days since the Christmas ham first made an appearance, and since then we’ve served it on toast, stuffed it into sandwiches, and even turned it into a tasty nasi goreng. But if, like us, your love of ham is starting to wane, we have one last way to add serve the smoked pork: in spicy Korean ssam parcels.
Literally meaning ‘wrapped’, ssam is a popular way to eat Korean barbecue. Take a lettuce leaf, lay it in your hand, then fill it with grilled meats, kimchi and pickles. Add a dab of ssamjang (check out our easy recipe below), then wrap it up and pop it in your mouth – preferably in one bite. Korean people believe that opening your mouth wide and eating a big ssam in one go is a symbol of inviting luck into the household, so start stretching!
The salty flavour of the smoked Christmas ham works a treat with the cleansing, cool crunch of the lettuce, the savoury funk of the kimchi, the sour tang of the pickles, and the chilli heat of the ssamjang. You can quickly sizzle your ham in a frying pan if you want to serve it hot, but on a hot summer’s day it works just as well straight from the fridge.
You’re limited only by your imagination – and what’s in your fridge! Try leftover roast turkey, shredded barbecue chicken, or, if you feel like cooking, marinated beef bulgogi straight off the barbecue.
Combine 1 tbsp doenjang (Korean soybean paste), 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste), 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tsp honey, 1 small chopped onion, a small bunch of finely chopped spring onions, 1 crushed garlic clove and 2 tsp sesame seeds in a bowl. Add a little water to loosen the sauce if necessary. Store the ssamjang paste covered in the fridge for up to one week. For more summer cooking inspiration, try our Asian-style picnic recipes.
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