"bulgogi" news and stories
Over the last few years, Korean barbecue has gained fresh relevance in the United States. Whether served on hot dog buns in Manhattan, tortillas in Los Angeles or rice in Korean restaurants around the country, the sweet, oniony flavors of bulgoki, japchae and galbi are incredibly delicious and increasingly popular.
When I was a kid, bulgoki (also spelled bulgogi, pulgoki, pulgogi and any number of other ways) was a staple in my house. My parents, who lived in Korea before I was born, loved the stuff and would cook it on an electric griddle at our dinner table. As my sisters and I got older, we got involved in the fun; some of my first cooking experiences involved flipping bulgoki with a pair of bamboo tongs.
I've played with amounts and ingredients, but my mother's basic bulgoki recipe is fantastic. In fact, my only major change is in the dipping sauce: while my parents used light soy sauce with a sprinkle of pepper, I prefer a more traditional garlic/vinegar sauce, which I've included below.
Get the recipe for bulgoki after the jump.
Filed under: Retro cookery
A couple of weeks ago, we got our first napa cabbage. I'm sure that I've eaten napa before, but I've never really prepared it, and I wanted to do something beyond the obvious. After a little searching, my wife and I came up with a recipe that used napa cabbage as a salad base for filet mignons cooked with shiitakes and mizuna, but the idea of spending $40 on ingredients to make a dish in which napa was an afterthought struck us as a little silly. One night, however, I was making bulgoki and looking for a vegetable accompaniment. As I am not a huge fan of kimchi, and we wanted something on the cool side, I decided to mix up a napa salad. After looking over a few Asian slaw recipes and thinking about how I was going to taste-match with the bulgoki, I put this together. It's tasty, light, colorful, and easy to make. Best of all, it makes a great side for bulgoki!
Now if I can only figure out what to do with all the kale that I got from the CSA...
1 medium-sized head napa cabbage, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, cored, cleaned, and julienned
2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, cleaned and julienned
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
Juice of 3 limes
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
salt to taste
Mix vinegar, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, and salt together in a cup or bowl. Combine remaining ingredients and toss with vinegar lime dressing. Serve immediately.
For most of my friends, getting to eat bulgogi is a treat because they have to go out to a restaurant to eat the Korean marinated and grilled beef. For me, eating bulgogi is about the equivalent of eating meatloaf for my friends. It's boring because we ate it a lot when we were growing up. I know that Korean people always tell non-Koreans that they are wrong when they think that all Korean people eat is barbecue and kimchee, but for my family, it was true. We were in the midwest, and the ingredients for bulgogi and galbee were easier to find than say, fermented soybean paste.
So, since bulgogi seems to be such a treat for my friends, I have written up the "recipe" that my Mom and I use when we make it at home. I say "recipe" in quotes because everyone, of course, makes bulgogi and other Korean foods by taste. Make the marinade, take a taste, and adjust to your liking. It's the same nasic marinade we saw last year for Korean-marinated Flank Steak, but don't you dare call that bulgogi.
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The two most popular cuts of beef for Korean barbecue are cross-cut shortribs (galbee) and thinly-sliced ribeye (bulgogi). However, marinating a whole side of beef, or in this case, a flank steak ,in the same seasonings, grilling, then slicing the grilled steak after cooking is a good way to enjoy Korean barbecue as well. Most Koreans wrap up a slice of beef with a little spoonful of rice and some red pepper sauce in a lettuce leaf, but I usually leave the rice out and double up on the hot sauce.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp. minced ginger, 4-5 minced garlic cloves, and a dash of black pepper.
Place a 2 lb flank steak in a large zipper seal bag, along with the marinade. Let steak marinate for about 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally to cover all sides.
Grill the marinated flank steak for about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove the steak from the heat and let sit, covered, for at least five minutes. Do not touch, poke or prod it.
Thinly slice the beef across the grain. Serve with whole leaves of red leaf lettuce and goh-choo-jahng (Korean red pepper sauce).