Mushroom "Bulgogi" Ssambap with Spicy Ssam Sauce

In this recipe inspired by Korean bulgogi, marinated mushrooms are quickly cooked in a hot pan along with carrots and onions. Then the veggies are wrapped into lettuce leaves with rice for a flavor-packed dinner. This recipe was adapted from The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations for People & Planet. Copyright © 2022 by Kitchen Connection.

a recipe photo for the Mushroom “Bulgogi” Ssambap with Spicy Ssam Sauce
Photo: Lara Ferroni
Active Time:
40 mins
Soak Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
12 hrs 40 mins

Elle Youkyung Hong is an energetic home cook from South Korea, where "Have you eaten?" is often how people say "Hello," and where the popular online eating shows called meokbang were born. Hong became passionate about the food system while studying the subject during her graduate school studies. She acknowledges issues within the food system worldwide, including food inequality, food waste, factory farming and the effects of climate change on food production, and she feels a responsibility as a food scholar to eat sustainably and share her knowledge of nutrition to combat these issues. Using dried mushrooms in this dish highlights biodiverse ingredients and also helps to combat food waste and increase nutrient content. This recipe was created for The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations for People & Planet and is included in the cookbook's Food & Climate Change chapter. Each recipe in this chapter provides estimated carbon calculations, taking into account greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of sources. This meal emits an estimated 0.15 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is 85.67% less than the average meal in the world's highest-emitting countries.



  • 3 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin matchsticks

  • 1 medium carrot, cut into thin matchsticks

  • 2 scallions, green parts only, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Ssam Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

Bulgogi Sauce

  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper


  • 1 head butterhead or red leaf lettuce, leaves separated

  • 2 cups cooked short-grain rice, preferable brown


  1. To prepare mushrooms: Place mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with water. Cover and refrigerate until the insides of the mushrooms are tender and soft, at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

  2. To prepare ssam sauce: Combine gochujang, vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon garlic in a small bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 1 week.

  3. To prepare bulgogi sauce: Combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

  4. Lift the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and squeeze out any excess water. Separate the stems from the caps. Slice the caps into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Trim stem ends, then tear the stems lengthwise into thin strips (or use a knife and thinly slice them). Place the mushroom caps and stems in a small bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the bulgogi sauce and toss to coat.

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil to the pan. Add onion and carrot; cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan and mix well with the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are fully cooked and the onion is starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. Add the remaining bulgogi sauce and toss to coat the vegetables. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is fully absorbed by the vegetables, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in scallion greens and remove from the heat. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and toss again.

  7. Transfer the mushroom "bulgogi" to a large plate or platter; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with lettuce leaves, rice and ssam sauce. To assemble ssambap, put a lettuce leaf in your palm and top with spoonfuls of rice and mushroom "bulgogi." Drizzle with ssam sauce, shape into a bite-size ssambap pouch and enjoy.

To make ahead

Soak mushrooms (Step 1) for up to 1 day. Refrigerate ssam sauce (Step 2) for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

392 Calories
14g Fat
60g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 392
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 12g
Added Sugars 7g 14%
Protein 8g 16%
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Vitamin A 3975IU 80%
Vitamin C 7mg 8%
Vitamin D 33IU 8%
Vitamin E 1mg 9%
Folate 94mcg 24%
Vitamin K 65mcg 54%
Sodium 775mg 34%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Magnesium 90mg 21%
Potassium 680mg 14%
Zinc 3mg 27%
Omega 3 1g

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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