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., November 2022


Credit: Lara Ferroni

Recipe Summary

40 mins
12 hrs
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.


Ssam Sauce
Bulgogi Sauce


Instructions Checklist
  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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

2/3 cup vegetables, 1/2 cup rice & 1 Tbsp. ssam sauce
392 calories; protein 8g; carbohydrates 60g; dietary fiber 6g; sugars 12g; added sugar 7g; fat 14g; saturated fat 2g; mono fat 7g; poly fat 4g; vitamin a iu 3975IU; vitamin b3 niacin 6mg; vitamin c 7mg; vitamin d iu 33IU; vitamin e iu 2IU; folate 94mg; vitamin k 65mg; sodium 775mg; calcium 47mg; chromium 1mcg; iron 2mg; magnesium 90mg; phosphorus 223mg; potassium 680mg; zinc 3mg; omega 3 fatty acid 1g; omega 6 fatty acid 2g; niacin equivalents 7mg; selenium 16mcg.