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Are you looking for gluten-free Korean ingredients? These days, gluten-free Korean products are becoming more common. In this post, I list two gluten-free ssamjang brands available on the market as well as answer some questions you may have about this Korean dipping sauce.
What Is Ssamjang?
‘Ssamjang’ (쌈장) is a thick, dark, spicy Korean paste enjoyed as a dipping sauce with barbecue. People either eat their meat after dipping it into the sauce or dip the meat before adding it into a lettuce wrap to enjoy.
The term comes from two words. ‘Ssam’ (쌈) means ‘wrapped.’ This term is typically used in cooking to describe leafy vegetables wrapped around ingredients such as meat. Then, ‘jang’ (장) refers to ‘a fermented paste or sauce.’ Together, the words mean ‘wrapping sauce.’
In Korea, the most basic form of this thick sauce is made by combining fermented soybean paste (doenjang) and fermented red pepper paste (gochujang). Then, people elevate this sauce using further optional ingredients such as sesame oil, garlic, green onions, onion, and more.
While you can prepare homemade ssamjang at home (which I think definitely tastes more delicious), you may want to save time by buying pre-made ssamjang at the grocery store. I do this often when cooking a big meal for a party and do not have time to make my own.
Ssamjang vs Gochujang
As I stated above, gochujang is a Korean fermented red pepper paste. This pepper paste is an ingredient in the ssamjang sauce. Learn more about gochujang in my ingredient article on the subject.
Ssamjang vs Doenjang
Once again, as I stated above, doenjang is a Korean fermented soybean paste. This soybean paste is an ingredient in the ssamjang sauce. Learn more about doenjang in my ingredient article on the subject.
Gluten-Free Ssamjang Brands:
Here, I list two gluten-free ssamjang brands. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me at [email protected]!
The Sempio brand was established in 1946 in South Korea. This company with its name stands as the oldest registered brand in Korea. The company started as a manufacturer of fermented food products, and it still continues to do so!
Important Note: When buying this gluten-free ssamjang, make sure to buy the gluten-free and vegan variety. They also carry a vegan ssamjang that contains gluten. On Amazon, both varieties are under the same ssamjang listing and the ingredient information listed is for the one containing gluten. You can pick which option under the size choices. Make sure to buy the one labeled gluten-free on the front. This led to confusion in the reviews on Amazon. As a Celiac, I have used this product often and enjoy it.
Ingredients: Fermented rice syrup(water, rice powder, alcohol, salt), Water, Rice, Soybeans, Naturally brewed soy sauce(Water, soybean, salt, alcohol), Red pepper seasoning (Red pepper powder, Water, salt, garlic, onion), Minced garlic, Salt, Alcohol, Sugar, Roasted sesame, Sesame oil, Lactic acid, Yeast extract, Onion powder, Koji-starter, Ginger seasoning(alcohol, oleoresin ginger, water).
Allergy Information: Soybeans and Sesame
Jinmi is a newer Korean brand making other gluten-free products such as gochujang, doenjang, and chunjang.
Ingredients: Fermented soybean paste (soybean, rice, salt, koji seed), fructo-oligosaccharide, garlic, sugar, red pepper powder, onion, ethyl alcohol, cheongyang chili pepper, ginger concentrate, sesame seeds, yeast extract.
Allergy Information: Soybeans and Sesame
Ssamjang Frequently Asked Questions:
Now that we listed some gluten-free ssamjang brands, I want to answer some questions you may have about this ingredient as well! If I do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email me at [email protected].
Does Ssamjang Usually Contain Gluten?
Ssamjang almost always contains gluten. This is because most modern, pre-made gochujang and doenjang contain gluten as an ingredient. For this reason, I recommend always avoiding this dipping sauce in restaurants unless you know you are eating a gluten-free version.
Does Ssamjang Contain Other Major Allergens? (Soy, Milk, Etc.)
Before listing all of the other typical major allergens, I want to state that all of my recommendations and recipes on this blog are naturally gluten-free. That being said, I list gluten as a potential allergen when necessary– this is because many Korean ingredients (such as soy sauce, gochujang, and doenjang) contain gluten unless you specifically buy gluten-free versions. Not only is this true for gluten, but it is true for other major allergens as well. As such, always check the ingredients!
Ssamjang often contains 5 of the 9 major allergens. It can contain:
- Wheat (Gluten)
- Tree Nuts
Note that ssamjang ALWAYS contains soybeans as it includes doenjang, otherwise known as fermented soybean paste. For those with a soy allergy, I recommend avoiding ssamjang completely.
Is This Ingredient Vegetarian or Vegan?
Excitingly, this ingredient is typically both vegetarian and vegan! As always, if you follow a particular diet, make sure to check the ingredients.
Where Do I Buy Gluten-Free Ssamjang?
While you can find many Korean ingredients such as ssamjang at your local well-stocked grocery store, you may have a hard time finding gluten-free versions. It may also be difficult to find gluten-free versions at your local Asian or Korean grocery store. I recommend shopping for this ingredient online if you can’t find it in the store.
Where to Buy This Ingredient Online?
Nowadays, there are many online options to choose from to order ssamjang online. These websites are not limited to but include:
How Do I Store Ssamjang?
Once you open ssamjang, I recommend storing the container in the refrigerator.
Do You Have Other Gluten-Free Recommendations?
Further gluten-free Korean ingredient recommendation articles include:
I Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Gluten-Free Ssamjang!!
In the end, I hope you enjoyed learning about this delicious Korean barbecue dipping sauce! If you try this sauce, let me know in the comment section! Also, let me know if you have a favorite gluten-free ssamjang brand or find one that I didn’t list above!
If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on this blog. I listed some of my favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by my family’s blended Korean and Southern heritage.
Further Carving A Journey Recipes:
- Yuzu Vinaigrette
- Broccoli Tofu Muchim
- Minari Muchim (Korean Watercress Salad)
- Mindeulle Namul Muchim (Korean Dandelion Greens Side Dish)
- Sigeumchi Namul (Korean Spinach Side Dish)
If you have any questions or comments, you can also email me at [email protected]. And, finally, I would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow me at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog Youtube channel with my husband! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to the blog by joining the mailing list. Let me know if you enjoy trying these gluten-free ssamjang brands! Thank you so much for stopping by!
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