Cookin’ Korean

June 22, 2012

Korean seems to be the East Asian cuisine that Americans know the least about; it’s certainly far less well-known than Chinese, Japanese, Thai, or even Vietnamese. But hopefully with our help, that will change. Korean food is full of flavor, spice, and has a certain comfort food factor to it that is hard to describe. But maybe if you make this recipe you’ll see what I mean. The word bulgogi literally means “fire meat.” That should be all you need to know – ok, not quite all. It’s a very traditional dish – thin slices of marinated beef are quickly grilled, then served with rice and various condiments and sauces and, sometimes, wrapped up in lettuce leaves. This recipe calls for rib eye steak, but you can certainly use a more affordable cut like top sirloin. Freezing the steak about an hour prior will help you slice it nice and thin. It’s not spicy on its own, but generous doses of hot chili sauce will only enhance the dish. And you really should eat this with kimchee, the fermented cabbage dish that is the heart and soul of Korean food. Many supermarkets and certainly Asian markets offer kimchee these days. Enjoy!


(serves 4)

1 1/2 lbs boneless rib-eye steak

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/2 an Asian pear, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup sweet white wine or mirin

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon honey

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 each onion, cut in half-moon slices

8 whole lettuce leaves (such as Boston, bibb, or green leaf)

2 each scallions, thinly sliced

Asian spicy chili sauce, to taste

Place the steak in the freezer for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the marinade. In a blender or food processor, combine pear, garlic, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, honey, sugar, and pepper and blend into a coarse mixture. Place mixture in a resealable plastic bag. Add toasted sesame seeds and onion and massage bag gently to combine the ingredients. Slice the partially frozen steak across the grain into very thin slices. If steaks are large, it may be easier to cut them in half with the grain, then slice thinly against the grain. Add slices to the marinade in the plastic bag, and massage the bag to distribute the marinade evenly over the meat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, adjust oven rack so that it is 4 inches from the heating element. Preheat the broiler to high (about 550 degrees). Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the meat, onions, and marinade in a single layer on the baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes, then turn the meat and broil second side about 3 minutes. The meat should be cooked through and slightly caramelized in spots. While meat cooks, wash lettuce leaves and pat dry. To serve, divide beef among the lettuce leaves, sprinkle with scallions, then roll up the meat in the lettuce leaves. Eat!


One comment

  1. […] bulgogi was next, which was the one meat dish I was familiar with (as posted here). Chef Ortiz’ recipe was slightly different from the one we used, but all in all in came out just […]

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