Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SamJang (Spicy Pepper Dipping Sauce)

When I first married, I made it part of my job to learn Korean cooking. I turned to the internet and to cookbooks to begin transforming my table into one that more reflected the culture of our home. Along the way, I met many talented cooks who shared with me the secrets of their kitchen and, in time, my meals became a true indication of our family's tastes and heritages. Then, as our family grew, our preferences changed. And, as the preferences changed, so did the food.

SamJang is the perfect example of how the food on our table became an expression of who we are. SamJang is a Korean hot paste sauce. You can purchase it pre-made in Korean groceries near the GoChuJang and other pepper sauces. However, we have always wanted more from our store-bought SamJang! My SamJang recipe is one that has developed over time. It is simple and uses store-bought SamJang as its base. And, while I add a few traditional Korean ingredients to give the flavor a little more complexity, I also add one ingredient which is NOT Korean at all - COCA COLA! A little bit eastern and a little bit western....that is who we are!

Now, as our family has changed, Samjang has taken on a new role in our home. Samjang sauce usually contains ingredients like sesame, gochujang and a number of other ingredients that are common allergens. So, this sauce is NOT one that my angel eats. However, because it is served along side fresh vegetables for dipping, it is the perfect, healthy side dish to suit everyone's dietary needs and preferences. My angel eats plain fresh veggies while we dip them in the sauce.
Try SamJang with any of your favorite veggies. Although in Korea, you are likely to find peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, there is no need to stop with those. We find the freshest vegetables and serve them with the sauce. This week, we are enjoying baby summer squash, broccollini, and orange cauliflower. For vegetables that might be a little too crunchy like broccolli or cauliflower, I steam them and serve them once they have cooled. Give this dip a try. Have fun with it and try some vegetables that you never have tried before.


(Spicy Vegetable Dipping Sauce)

6 T SamJang pepper paste
4 T Coca-Cola
1 T fresh ginger, grated

Fresh vegetables:
summer squash
any safe vegetable
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl.
Mix until the thick paste blends completely with the cola.
Serve with a tray of vegetables for dipping.

Reminder:  This sauce recipe is not allergy-friendly.  However, it is an example of how we meet the needs of both our allergic angel and our non-allergic tastes.  We are able to dip our vegetables in the sauce while our angel eats the veggies plain.

This month we are featuring Korean recipes as we compete for a trip to Korea with KoreaTaste.org.  Please visit the AllergicAngel's Korean blog, vote for our posts and help the AllergicAngel got to Korea!. 

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