Perhaps the most popular dish among foreigners is a Korean beef dish named bulgogi. It’s sweet, savory, and full of flavors, stemming from the long marination process and tender cut of rib-eye steak. It is also popular with Koreans, where you can usually find it on the menu for special occasions and holidays. Bulgogi is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, ginger, and sugar for at least a few hours (we do it overnight) to enhance the flavor and to tenderize the meat. It is traditionally grilled but using the stove top is common as well. Like most Korean meat dishes, it is usually served with a side of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy vegetables, which is then wrapped with the cooked meat, ssamgjang (dipping sauce) and other banchan (side dishes). This dish is pretty easy to prepare so give it a try!
Servings: 4 Prep Time: 20 min Cooking Time: 10~15 min
Marination time: minimum 8 hours to overnight
- 3 lbs thinly sliced beef (sirloin or rib eye recommended)
- 4 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp Mirin (cooking wine)
- 1 onion, cut into strips
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 cup green onions
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (optional)
1. Try to slice the beef as thin as possible. Selecting premium cuts of meat recommended for extra taste and quality.
We used this angus beef roast which worked fine with this recipe, but rib-eye steak is the norm.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl enough to fit the batch of thinly sliced beef. Mix to coat and marinate in refrigerator for at least a few hours, although overnight refrigeration is recommended.
(2-1) Here are the ingredients for this recipe. To get the meat sliced thinly, having a sharp knife and partially freezing will do the trick.
3. After marination, cook over medium high heat on a non-stick skillet or frying pan. Cook until meat loses its pink color or until well browned.
Cook until the meat turns brown or slightly burnt. It shouldn’t take too long though.
4. Serve hot with rice and banchan (side dishes) including lettuce varieties for wraps. Red leaf lettuce, Boston bibbs, and romaine lettuce work best.
And of course serve hot with white rice and banchan (side dishes).
*For easier slicing of the beef, stick the beef in the freezer for 20~25 minutes. This will make cutting much easier, trying to attain paper-thin slices.
A version of this article by MyKoreanEats.com. Photo by MyKoreanEats.com.