Dish of the Week: Bulgogi
Serve bulgogi the traditional way...or chopped it up and throw it into a cheese steak.
Photo by Chloe Lim
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.
This week, we're looking at bulgogi.
Bulgogi is Korean dish of grilled, marinated beef that is said to have originated during the ancient Goguryeo era (37 BC-668 AD). Literally meaning "fire meat" in Korean, the beef is cooked on a gridiron over an open flame. Variations on the dish include dak bulgogi (made with chicken) and dwaeji bulgogi (made with pork).
Traditionally, bulgogi is made with thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef that are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and spices that works to both flavor and tenderize the meat (sometimes, things like ginger, scallions, and pureed pears are added to the mix). It is often grilled alongside cloves of garlic, sliced onion, and green peppers before being served with whole lettuce leaves and ssamjang (a spicy Korean chili paste) -- though many variations on the dish exist.
This recipe, from Saveur, uses a simple mixture of soy, toasted sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and scallions to make a bold marinade. Feel free to play around with the flavors, adding things like freshly grated ginger for extra zip or a hint of chili paste for heat. Mushrooms, peppers, and steamed rice also made a great addition to the dish.
Bulgogi (Korean Barbecue Beef)
Ingredients serves 4 to 6 2 lb. beef sirloin 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced ½ cup soy sauce ⅓ cup toasted sesame oil 2 tbsp. sugar 2 tsp. ground black pepper 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 6 scallions, sliced 1 tbsp. sesame seeds Green leaf lettuce, for serving Gochujang (Korean chili-bean paste), for serving
For easier slicing, wrap the beef in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. Unwrap and slice across the grain as thinly as possible, about 1⁄6". Place in a bowl along with onion. In a blender, combine soy sauce, oil, sugar, pepper, garlic, and scallions, pureeing until smooth. Pour over meat, and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat a large cast-iron grill pan or griddle over high heat. Working in batches, spread beef and onion mixture in one layer. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and cook, turning as needed, until charred and just cooked through, about 12 minutes.
Serve bulgogi atop lettuce leaves with gochujang on the side.
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