"To be honest this dish started life as a kitchen snack whilst testing recipes for Kong. Puffed rice crackers are a bit of an addiction for me, so I would snack on them whilst tasting food. One day in the test kitchen Daniel Briggs (my head chef at Kong) and I were testing ssamjang recipes. I had some edamame salsa left from another recipe and the three elements just came together. I love the flavour interplay as well as the textural differences: the rice crackers have a nutty, toasty flavour; the salsa is creamy and bright (sort of like avocado salsa); and the ssamjang is fiery and earthy. We make our own rice crackers at Kong, but you can buy these instead." Benjamin Cooper, Kong BBQ
- 35 g doenjang (Korean soybean paste) (see Note)
- 70 g gochujang (fermented Korean hot chilli paste) (see Note)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 20 ml sesame oil
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds, toasted
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste
- 150 g podded edamame
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 15 g ginger (1 small knob), finely chopped
- 15 rice crackers (see Note)
- ABC kecap manis (sweet soy), to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the ssamjang, add the doenjang, gochujang and oils into a bowl and mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and continue mixing until the sugar has dissolved. Check the seasoning – it should be earthy, savoury and nutty, with a slightly sweet note to finish. Refrigerate until required.
To make the edamame salsa, using a mortar and pestle, pound the edamame pods with the oil, salt and lemon juice until the mixture takes on a smashed avocado consistency. Fold in the remaining ingredients and check the seasoning. Refrigerate until required.
To serve, place one tablespoon of the edamame salsa on the rice cracker, garnish with one teaspoon of ssamjang and drizzle a small amount of kecap manis over the top. Repeat this process with the remaining rice crackers.
• Doenjang (Korean soybean paste) and gochujang (fermented Korean hot chilli paste) are available from Asian supermarkets.
• Rice crackers are available from Asian grocers in the biscuit aisle. Some varieties can be on the sweet side, so check you have a savoury version.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Suresh Watson. Creative concept by Lou Fay.
Recipe courtesy of Benjamin Cooper of Melbourne restaurants Kong BBQ, Chin Chin and Baby. Benjamin will present "Quite the Pickle" at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival as part of "The Essentials" classes, which aims to teach a skill in an hour.