Korean Lettuce Wraps (Ssambap)2 min read

Ssam means “wrap” in Korean, and bap means “rice,” typically combining with meat and vegetables in a lettuce wrap to make a delicious and flavor-packed meal. Here we roast tender chicken thighs with savory soy sauce and sweet pomegranate juice, which cooks down into a deliciously sticky glaze that perfectly pairs with rice and crisp broccoli. The combinations are endless with ssambap, and you can feel free to mix and match based on your preferences and your pantry. Chicken thighs give this meal a boost of satiating protein, while also boosting the production of serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) in our brains by providing tryptophan. 

Serves: 4

Total Time: 2 hours (20 minutes hands-on prep time)


  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice 
  • ½ cup soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (to serve)
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber (to serve)
  • 2 cups roasted or steamed broccoli (to serve)
  • Sesame sauce (recipe below)
  • 1-2 heads butter lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves, root removed, leaves separated, washed and dried

Sesame Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon miso paste, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and ½ tablespoon gochujang to taste. 


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and wrap the edges so no marinade gets onto the sheet (it’ll be a sticky mess and hard to clean!). 
  2. Add the chicken to the prepared baking sheet, and pour over the pomegranate juice, soy sauce and maple syrup. Mix everything well to combine and arrange the chicken in a single layer. 
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, then flip the chicken thighs over and bake for another 35-40 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs back over and broil for 2-3 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn, until the chicken begins to brown in places. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into large bite-sized pieces and transfer to a platter. 
  4. Serve the chicken with all the accompaniments and instruct your dining companions to build their wraps with one or two lettuce leaves as the base, then rice, chicken, broccoli and a drizzle of sauce as desired. Alternatively, you can build a rice bowl and shred over some lettuce to serve. 


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