Taking the mystery out of Korean food, this Bulgogi is perfect for the average home cook who wants to try something new and EASY!
Even before blogging about food, I tried new recipes almost every time I cooked, which means almost never repeating recipes. It wasn’t because the recipes were not very palatable, a few fit that description, but rather I always wanted to try something new. This can be problematic when hubby really likes something I made and wants me to make it every week.
The first time I made Korean BBQ, hubby was nervous. I had dabbled in some other Korean dishes which were really spicy hot and he was hovering in the kitchen wanting to know exactly how much chili powder I was going to put in. His anxiety was palpable. When upon hearing there wasn’t any chili powder in this dish, he finally relaxed and exited the kitchen. I didn’t tell him what gochujang was, the Korean chili paste.
I wasn’t worried about over spicing this dish because there weren’t any hot spices in the marinade and I really cut down on the heat for the Ssamjang sauce. I was confident he could put the right amount of Ssamjang in his Bulgogi lettuce wraps and not have to drink a gallon of water.
This time I used an easy but yummy pickle to add to the lettuce wraps and gosh! LOVED it!! Definitely make your own but if you can’t for some reason, bottled kimchi works really well too!
Eating his first wrap, his eyes were bright, then declaring they were really good. He made sure that I knew he approved and wanted me to make them again. Then the sad eyes came, ‘You’re not going to make this again, are you?’ he muttered. I assured him I would and that’s how Bulgogi became my husbands favorite Korean dish.
Bulgogi uses a sweet and pungent marinade for the beef powered by pears, onions and garlic. It’s rounded off with the usual Korean ingredients. I have been making bulgogi either stir fried in a skillet or broiled in my electric oven since I didn’t have a BBQ until recently. I do look forward to cooking this over wood in the future with my new smoker. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Ssamjang is the sauce of the year that you need to learn how to make ASAP. It is robust, spicy and easy. You do need to find some Korean ingredients but I am now seeing Doenjang and Gochujang in bigger supermarkets so hopefully this will make it easy for you. If not, venture out to a nearby Asian market.
An easy way to experience Korean cuisine, not too spicy and full of flavor.
- 2 pears, peeled and cored, roughly chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 inch of ginger root, peeled, chopped
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbs sugar or honey
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 Tbs sesame oil
- 1.5 lbs beef sliced thinly, your choice
- oil for stir fry
- 1 head of Red Leaf lettuce or Romaine
- Ssamjang Sauce* - see note
- Homemade pickle or bottled Kimchi* - see note
- Place first 7 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a thick marinade is formed. Place thinly sliced beef in a medium bowl and pour over marinade, stir to coat. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- In a hot skillet or wok, add oil then beef and stir fry until done, about 3 minutes, set aside.
- To serve, place beef, pickle or kimchi and Ssamjang sauce in a lettuce leaf and roll into a bite size piece.
- Ssamjang Recipe
- Pickle Recipe
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