Easy Ssam and Ssambap (Korean Lettuce Wrap) Recipe

Ssam and Ssambap are Korean lettuce wraps made with rice and various stuffings along with Ssamjang. Healthy, delicious and simple. Great for lunch boxes.
Course Main Course, rice
Cuisine Korean
Keyword gluten free, jumeokbap, lunchbox
KoreanCategory Bap (밥)
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 20 ssambap rolls
Calories 96kcal
Author JinJoo Lee


  • 4 cups cooked white rice (short grain Korean or Japanese Sushi) = 3/4 cup uncooked rice

seasoning for rice

  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt (Trader Joe's)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Tuna with mayonnaise

  • 1 can of Tuna (5 oz Net wt), drained
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp pickle relish

Bulgogi Ground Beef

  • 8 oz ground beef 250g
  • 3 tsp dark soy sauce (Korean jinkanjang) or any GF Tamari Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper


  • Cook rice in a rice cooker. 1/3 cup uncooked rice makes about 1 cup cooked rice so 3/4 cup of raw rice should make about 4 cups of cooked rice. Make rice on the dry side.
  • Make Ssamjang using my ssamjang recipe.

Choose and make stuffing/topping for Ssambap

  • Myeolchi Bokkeum (Soy Maple Glazed Anchovies) – small baby anchovies work best. Use my Soy Maple Glazed Anchovies recipe to make it.
  • Bulgogi Beef: Season ground beef using recipe above and saute in frying pan on medium high heat until nicely browned and liquid has mostly been absorbed back into the beef.
  • Tuna Mayonnaise: Drain liquid from tuna and mix mayonnaise and picked relish. Season lightly with a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Prepare Ssam vegetables for cooking : Wash and rinse greens that you want to cook such as perilla, cabbage, squash leaves, kale.
  • For cabbages, steam it for 14-15 minutes until the thickest part is translucent. It should be soft but the thick part should be a little crunchy. If you like softer texture, steam longer.
  • For other leaves, boil a pot of water with salt added (1 tsp for 3-4 quart pot).
  • Prepare an ice bath to “shock” the leaves and stop the cooking process when you take the leaves out of the boiling water.
  • Times for blanching each ssam greens: Perilla, Kale – 2 – 3 seconds (prob. couple seconds longer if you are blanching larger amount. I was only blanching a handful), Squash leaves – 3 min (longer for tougher, larger leaves). DO NOT overcook them. Overcooking will make them too mushy and discolored.
  • Plunge blanched leaves in ice bath for few seconds until completely cooled.
  • Lay out each of the leaves and let water drain in a colander.
  • While leaves are draining, prepare rice by transferring rice to a big bowl.
  • Season rice with salt and sesame oil while it is still hot. Stir the rice and let it cool until it’s cool enough to touch but still warm.
  • Make rice balls with hands – I made two kinds. Rice balls and also into 2 inch x 1 inch baton shapes. Wear plastic gloves to avoid rice sticking to your fingers.
  • Make Ssambap – Wrap baton shaped rice balls with various cooked greens.
  • You can stuff these ssambap with any of the 3 stuffings and ssamjang on top or inside.
  • You can make these ssambap in so many different ways. With stuffing inside the roll or just with rice and then topped with ssamjang.
  • Make Ssam platter – lay out different fresh ssam greens on a plate and put rice balls in the center of each ssam green. If you can do a double layer of a bitter green and a sweeter green, it makes a great combination. Top it with different toppings of tuna, beef, myeolchi bokkeum and then ssamjang on top of each. Ssamjang goes great with all 3 toppings.


This Korean Ssam platter can be a great appetizer or as a side to any Korean meal. Also a great gluten-free lunch box idea for kids or adults alike.


Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 58mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.5mg