I remember my mom busting out the lettuce and rice, then she would take out this hot, red bean paste, kocheejang/gochujang. She would take a piece of lettuce on her hand, a little bit of rice, then she spread the kocheejang over the rice with chopsticks. She would then close the piece of lettuce and pop it in her mouth. Then she would make another one and pop it in my mouth. Then she would ask me if I wanted another one. Of course, I would nod vigorously and she would pop another one into my mouth. You just couldn’t beat the taste of freshly washed lettuce, rice and kocheejang in one bite!
So I thought it would be fun to add shrimp and make it a family meal. By family meal, I mean a meal that has to be eaten around a table. By it’s nature, this recipe cannot be eaten by teenagers in their rooms (Zach). It cannot be eaten by adults eating on the couch either (Tom and I). A long time ago, I had a kocheejang party where everyone just ate kocheejang and it worked out surprisingly well if you want to try it.
Where to Find
I have found kocheejang sauce in Korean, Japanese and Cambodian grocery stores. Some varieties contain MSG so read the label.
Time: 35 minutes (including rice cooking time)
20-25 raw shrimp, the smaller kind work better than large shrimp
2 bunches of red leaf lettuce
2 cups of cooked rice
2 gloves grated garlic
Preparation and Cooking
1) Cook the rice.
2) Wash the bunches of red leaf lettuce, tearing the leaves of lettuce where they can fit in your hand.
3) When the rice is almost done, prepare the shrimp. Peel off the skins, wash and drain.
4) Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl.
5) Add olive oil to the shrimp, enough to coat the shrimp. Then add the dried basil and grate the garlic cloves, mixing thoroughly with your hands.
6) Turn a wok to medium on the burner. Place the shrimp in the wok. It should only take about 5 minutes to cook.
Putting It All Together
7) Take a piece of lettuce about the size of the palm of your hand.
8) Spoon some rice in the middle of the leaf.
9) Spread some kocheejang sauce, chopsticks or a fork work best.
10) Place a shrimp on top of the rice.
11) Close the lettuce leaf.
12) Pop it in your mouth.