Korean Ssam: How to Prepare it at Home

If you like snacks, you can't miss the "ssam", a typical Korean dish that provides a good handful of proteins of the highest quality.
Korean Ssam: How to Prepare it at Home
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 18 July, 2022

The Korean ssam snack has become very fashionable. It’s an aperitif consisting of lettuce rolls stuffed with rice, grilled meat and a special sauce. Its origin is Korean, but little by little it has been spreading to other cuisines due to its exceptional organoleptic characteristics.

Keep reading because we’re going to show you how to prepare this delicious snack that will delight your guests or family.

The Korean ssam recipe

Ssam is a simple dish, but it provides essential nutrients of high quality, so it’s worth making and trying.

Before starting, it’s important to note that a balanced and varied diet should be considered in order to maintain a good state of health over the years. Avoiding a deficit of nutrients is very important. If not, your body could experience inefficiencies in its daily internal processes.

The Korean ssam snack.
Although ssam is traditionally prepared with beef, you can use pork or chicken, if you wish.


If you want to prepare an exquisite Korean ssam, you’ll need to prepare several things. However, they’re all simple to make. Let’s start by listing the general products:

  • 500 grams (20 oz) of veal loin
  • 4 heads of lettuce
  • 200 grams (8 oz) of round rice

To make the sauce for marinating the meat you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pineapple slices

For the sauce to cover the meat you’ll require:

  • 70 grams (nearly 3 oz) of fermented soybean paste
  • 40 grams (nearly 2 oz) of fermented bell pepper paste
  • The green parts of a spring onion
  • 50 grams (2 oz) of chopped onion
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil

Step by step instructions

  1. First, prepare the marinade. To do so, grind all the ingredients mentioned above.
  2. Then freeze the meat so that it can be cut into very fine pieces.
  3. After that, marinate for half an hour in the refrigerator. It’s important to note that the pineapple is an optional ingredient and that, if it isn’t added, the marinade can be kept longer.
  4. Once this step is ready, prepare the sauce by mashing again all the ingredients mentioned above.
  5. Grill the meat and cook the white rice according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. All that remains is to separate the lettuce leaves from the heads, and wash them.
  7. From here, serve everything on the plate. The meat on one side, the rice on the other, along with the lettuce and the sauce.
  8. To correctly prepare it, make rolls from the vegetable leaves and the proposed filling.

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The benefits of ssam

Ssam is a dish that can bring certain health benefits if included in the context of a varied diet. It’s important to highlight that it provides proteins of the highest quality.

They contain all the essential amino acids and have a good digestibility score. They’re necessary to avoid the development of pathologies that affect lean mass in the medium term, such as sarcopenia. This is evidenced by research published in Nutrition Research.

Korean ssam.
Stuffed lettuce wraps will delight all diners.

Moreover, ssam is high in fiber, which comes from the rice and lettuce. This element helps to improve the health of the digestive system. According to a study published in the journal Nature Reviews, it can reduce the incidence of constipation, thus improving bowel movements. In addition, it can have a positive impact on the density of microbiota, increasing the number of bacteria.

Ssam, a delicious and nutritious Korean snack

As you have seen, ssam is an easy-to-make delicious snack that provides a good amount of essential nutrients. It’s prepared from fresh ingredients. It’s even possible to substitute the beef for a piece of pork or chicken. That will depend on the tastes of the diners.

Finally, remember that the presence of products of animal origin in the diet is advisable when the objective is to maintain a good state of health. These provide proteins of the highest quality and a good handful of essential minerals, such as iron.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Naseeb, M. A., & Volpe, S. L. (2017). Protein and exercise in the prevention of sarcopenia and aging. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.)40, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2017.01.001
  • Gill, S. K., Rossi, M., Bajka, B., & Whelan, K. (2021). Dietary fibre in gastrointestinal health and disease. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology18(2), 101–116. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-020-00375-4
  • Alghannam, A. F., Gonzalez, J. T., & Betts, J. A. (2018). Restoration of Muscle Glycogen and Functional Capacity: Role of Post-Exercise Carbohydrate and Protein Co-Ingestion. Nutrients10(2), 253. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10020253

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.