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Aug 13, 2008 11:06 AM

Asian Style Dipping Sauce

Hey -- I've got some leftover flank steak that was marinated in soy, ginger and garlic and I'm thinking about slicing it up and serving it with some bib lettuce and julienned vegetables for some self-assembly lettuce rolls. Can anyone recommend some recipes for dipping sauce, or other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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  1. my favorite is hot red chiles in a white vinegar + sugar solution. almost candies the chiles - addicting!

    4 Replies
    1. re: mrsjenpeters

      I like that sweet, sour heat thing and have some red jalapenos at home. Could rice vinegar be used? And what sort of sugar:vinegar ratio would be best? Thanks!

      1. re: jamesm

        i would think rice vinegar would be fine. slightly different taste but yummy nonetheless. i'm not 100% sure on the ratio - check this recipe out though:

        1. re: mrsjenpeters

          Cool, thanks. I would have thought there would have been some reducing with heat involved in the recipe though to give it that candied flavour you mentioned.

          1. re: jamesm

            nope, in my experience, the vinegar + sugar alone does the trick!

    2. anything mixed with a good oyster sauce goes great with beef.

      1. For simple dipping sauces - start with equal amounts of (test with small amounts - 1tsp each or 1 tbsp each)
        soy sauce
        white vinegar, rice vinegar, or asian cooking wine (like shao xing or mirin)
        water or flavoring (lemon juice, lime juice, ginger paste, etc)

        Let it sit for 15 minutes to allow flavor to mingle, Then adjust to taste.

        Shrimp, Fish, or oyster sauce base use 1/2 measure instead of the 1 measure of soy sauce.

        Once you have a base sauce that you like you can add other things like chopped green onions, fine or coarse ground red chili powder, sesame oil, sesame seed, garlic paste, raw minced garlic, etc.
        Again with these additions start at a half measure, wait fifteen minutes, and adjust to taste.

        5 Replies
        1. re: hannaone

          Awesome, thanks very much for the help.

          1. re: jamesm

            You could also go with a Ssamjang paste/sauce:

            Ssam Jang Sauce

            Ssam jang

            1/4 cup of soybean paste (Korean-doenjang/Japanese-Miso)
            1/2 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste) **
            1 tablespoon soy sauce
            1 fresh red chili pepper
            1 fresh green chili pepper
            4 cloves garlic
            2 green/spring onion
            1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
            1 tablespoon of sesame oil
            water as needed
            1 teaspoon rice wine

            ** gochujang substitute
            **1/3 cup fine or medium ground dried red chili pepper
            **6 cloves fresh garlic
            **1/4 small white or yellow onion
            **1 teaspoon sugar
            **1 tablespoon of sesame oil
            **1 tablespoon rice wine
            **3 tablespoon soy sauce
            **water as needed

            Meal Suggestion
            Any Korean grilled or stir fried meat dish like Bulgogi
            4 bunches red leaf lettuce (or other large leaf vegetable)
            "sticky" rice (Link)
            6 cloves garlic
            5 fresh jalapeƱo peppers


            [**Mix gochujang substitute if needed
            Place onion, peeled garlic cloves, and soy sauce in a blender and blend until liquified (add a small amount of water if needed).
            Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix well.
            Add just enough water to be able to mix. The result should be a very thick paste that must be spooned from the bowl.]

            Finely chop (mince) the garlic, chili peppers, and green onion.
            In a small mixing bowl, add all Ssam jang ingredients and mix well.
            Add a small amount of water if needed to maintain a mixable paste.
            Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

            Separate lettuce leaves, rinse, and drain. Gently pat dry and place on a serving plate.
            Thin slice the garlic and peppers, and place in separate small dishes.

            Serve with a grilled meat or fish main dish and one bowl of rice for each diner.

            How to Eat

            Take one lettuce leaf and place in the palm of one hand, add a small spoonful of rice, a piece meat from the meat dish, slice of pepper and garlic, a piece of kimchi, and a dab of the Ssam jang. Close the leaf into a ball and eat the whole roll in one bite. A little practice may be needed to get that "one mouth full" size right.

            May also be used as a dip for steamed or grilled firm vegetables like asparagus, carrot, bok choy, celery, etc.

            EDIT: LoL. MeowMixx beat me to it. Another victim of post delay.

            1. re: hannaone


              today i bought a nice piece of pork belly which i sliced thickly for samgyeopsal (so often the pre-sliced stuff is way too thin for me). i realized that i didn't have any ssamjang, so i improvised my own. only two of my korean cookbooks have recipes for ssamjang. one of them, (growing up in a korean kitchen by hi soo shin hepinstall) seemed a bit too involved, with ground beef and tofu as ingredients. the other one (a korean mother's cooking notes) included ground anchovy and flour. being hungry and in a rush, i just whipped together a mix of doenjang and kochujang, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, kochugaru, and water. but it was still way too salty.

              i just found your recipe here, which seems to have a higher ratio of gochujang to doenjang that i'm used to, and also includes soy sauce. i don't have the red and green chiles on hand for your recipe, but i have a question about the amount of water. do you dilute it quite a bit, or do you prefer a saltier version? i could just grab a tub of premade ssamjang at the market tomorrow, but i'd like to get ssamjang into my repertoire. and i have half of that luscious pork left over for tomorrow, too.

              it's possible that i mixed too much salt into the sesame oil, salt, and black pepper dip, but i think my ssamjang was just too salty. by the way, i'm all for people using nicer salts in their sesame oil dip. this time i crushed maldon sea salt over the oil, and i think it made a distinct difference in taste, as did the hand slicing of the pork.

              anyways i would appreciate any tips on improving my ssamjang. i can't imagine throwing tofu or meat or flour into it, but hey if it works...

              1. re: augustiner

                Mine is a bit spicier than many of the variations and it is salty.
                To lessen the salt you can use a smaller amount of or no gochujang and use a red pepper paste instead. Adding a bit of sugar will also lessen the "saltiness" somewhat.

                Here is a paste I often use when I run out of gochujang -

                Kochujang (gochujang) Substitute
                If you can not get Kochujang in your area you can make a substitute chile paste that, while it will not taste quite the same, can be used with very good results.


                1 tablespoon soybean paste or miso (can be omitted if unavailable - but will change the taste)
                3 tablespoons finely ground red chile pepper
                1 teaspoon sugar
                3 cloves pressed or minced garlic
                1 teaspoon soy sauce
                1 teaspoon korean rice wine or a cooking wine
                1 teaspoon pure roasted sesame seed oil
                water as needed


                In a small bowl, mix all ingredients except the sesame oil, adding just enough water to form a thick paste.
                Allow to sit at room temperature for at least one half hour.
                Add sesame oil (and a little more water if needed), mix well and let sit another ten minutes.
                Refrigerate until use.

                After sitting, you may need to add a small amount of water to regain the paste consistency.

                Edit: this one is for a smaller batch than, and is refined from, the version posted above.

                1. re: hannaone

                  my mother just mailed me a zojirushi indoor electric grill, which i'm excited about, since i live in a tiny studio and my friend moved to new york with my portable butane burner (which scares me a little) and iron dome grill (grrr. i want that back). so i'm looking forward to breaking it in with some kalbi or samgeopsal, but i'd like to make my own ssamjang again. i'd like to try your method (though i'll probably put more doenjang to kochujang, just for personal preference), and plan on getting the chilies. may be awhile, what with thanksgiving and the holidays so close by, but i'll be sure to report back if i use your method.

        2. How about some korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)? You can make ssam jang - mix some gochujang with swenjang (fermented soybean paste), add a little sugar and sesame oil.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MeowMixx

            That looks delicious, but I'm not sure I'd have time to hunt down gochujang and sengjang in time for dinner though. I'm going to make a note of it though as I've only recently become interested in Asian cooking.

          2. I've made the following Asian-style chimichurri sauce to serve with flank and skirt steak, and it's a hit every time... great flavor and bright green, fresh color:

            1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
            1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
            3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
            3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
            3 garlic cloves, peeled
            2 medium shallots, peeled, quartered
            1 teaspoon fine sea salt
            1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
            1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
            3 cups (packed) stemmed fresh parsley
            2 cups (packed) stemmed fresh cilantro
            1 cup (packed) stemmed fresh mint

            Combine first 9 ingredients in blender (using just 1/2 cup olive oil), blend until almost smooth. Add 1/4 of parsley, 1/4 of cilantro, and 1/4 of mint; pulse-blend until incorporated. Add remaining herbs in 3 more additions, pureeing until almost smooth after each addition.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Night Owl

              These are making me hungry. I'm looking forward to trying them at some point. Thanks for the replies.