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Watch out, Sriracha; there’s a new hot chili sauce poised to conquer the world of spice.
David Chang, chef and owner of the popular Momofuku restaurant mini empire, is one of the hottest chefs around — and now he’s trying to bring that heat to the condiment aisle.
Ssäm Sauce, a long-time staple in Chang’s kitchen, is a take on ssamjang, a tangy Korean chili sauce packed with a rich combination of flavors from gochujang — a spicy umami seasoning — to chili peppers, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.
Well known to frequenters of Chang’s Momofuku restaurants — including Noodle Bar, Ko, and the aptly named Ssäm Bar — Chang’s go-to condiment has been used to add an extra kick to fried chicken, lettuce wraps, steamed buns, and more.
Now, Chang is bottling and selling the beloved sauce, and eager Momofuku devotees are flipping out over the chance to use it in their own kitchens. Ssäm Sauce fans have taken to Twitter and Instagram to share their Chang-inspired creations and declare their love for the Korean condiment.
One doting fan tweeted, “How much Ssäm Sauce is too much? Because I’m about to drink the bottle!”
Another put the nail in the other red sauce’s coffin, tweeting, “RIP Sriracha. Momofuku Ssäm Sauce is what’s up.”
Beyond the classic ramen and rice dishes, the sauce has been topping spice lovers’ pizzas, burgers, French fries, salads, etc. The #ssamsauce hashtag on Instagram boasts a couple hundred photos of the condiment dressing everything from simple morning eggs to more ambitious culinary creations, like octopus with mango puree and lamb neck in a Ssäm Sauce ragù over grits.
So, is Ssäm really poised to steal the spice throne from Sriracha? Grab a bottle, try out some of the recipes below, and be the judge for yourself! The sauce is currently being sold exclusively through the new Momofuku online store for $7.50 a bottle.
Ssäm Sauce Chicken Wings
8 whole wings, about 2 pounds
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons peanut oil
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 cup Ssäm Sauce
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Fried onions, optional
Sesame seeds, optional
Pat wings dry with a paper towel.
In a large bowl, toss wings with salt and cayenne pepper until evenly coated. Arrange wings in an even layer on a wire rack over a sheet tray. Allow wings to remain uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, at least 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, toss wings in peanut oil until even coated.
Rearrange wings on the wire rack. Roast wings for 15 minutes.
Using the convection setting on your oven, reduce the temperature to 375°F and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until crisp.
While the wings are roasting, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Remove from heat and whisk in Ssäm Sauce and apple cider vinegar.
Toss wings in sauce until evenly coated. Add additional Ssäm Sauce to taste.
Garnish with fried onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Grilled Hanger Steak Ssäm With Ssäm Sauce
2 cups apple juice
½ cup soy sauce
½ up yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 pounds hanger steak
½ cup of Ssäm Sauce, plus more to taste.
Accompaniments (recipes in the Momofuku cookbook):
2 to 3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated and washed
2 cups short-grain rice, cooked
1 cup napa cabbage kimchi
1 cup ginger scallion sauce
Combine the apple juice, soy sauce, onion, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper in a large freezer bag, add the steaks, seal the bag, and shake to combine.
Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour, 24 hours is best.
Prepare the steaks from the marinade and grill for 6-10 minutes total, 3-5 minutes per side.
Remove the steaks from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Cut the steaks into ¼ slices and, in a small bowl, toss with Ssäm Sauce.
Create a hand-held lettuce wrap using the bibb lettuce, rice, kimchi, ginger scallion sauce, and more Ssäm Sauce to taste.
What foods would you like to try with Ssäm Sauce? Let us know in the comments!