This version of a popular Korean dish is delicious and bright, with simple, easy to prepare ingredients. There are many different versions of ssam: grilled meat or fish might be wrapped around cabbage and lettuce, or meat may be the wrapper itself. Ssam are a great food to serve as part of a lively brunch—your guests can pick and choose the ingredients they want to wrap in their lettuce cup. If you're feeling inspired, there are many other additions that can really liven up a simple ssam. A personal favorite of mine are quickly pickled carrots or cucumbers.
When putting together the marinade for the shrimp, tailor it to your tastes. No matter how you serve it, crisp beer is the perfect accompaniment.
- 1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, finely chopped (about 4 teaspoons)
- 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 3 teaspoons)
- 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped divided (about 1 loosely packed cup)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons chili paste (like sambal or sriracha)
- 2 pounds peeled and deveined medium raw shrimp
- 1 head Bibb lettuce
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
- Kosher salt
Combine ginger, garlic, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and chili paste in a large dish. Toss shrimp in marinade and allow to stand for 15 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
Gently remove each leaf from the head of Bibb lettuce and arrange on a platter. Place remaining cilantro, limes and chopped scallions in small bowls.
When ready to eat heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil is shimmering add shrimp in single layer and cook until first side is pink and spotty, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip shrimp and cook until second side is pink and shrimp is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt. Place in a serving dish and serve passing along with lettuce, scallions, cilantro and limes so that everyone can make their own lettuce wrap.