Bulgogi is our family favorite. Sharon recently turned 21 and requested it for her birthday dinner. She also asked for a yummy spice cake with cream cheese frosting--but that'll be another post!
Bulgogi is Korean barbecued meat. Bruce lived in Korea his first year out of Westpoint. I had never had Korean food until we were married. It is a culinary powerhouse! Strong flavors mix with delicate. The spicy hot is balanced by lots of sticky short grain white rice, and the infamous daily intake of Kimchi. Koreans are a very hearty people.
Bulgogi is not spicy but you can make it more peppery. One of the optional condiments, Konjuchong, is a spicy hot bean paste made with red chili peppers. Kimchi is pretty much a mandatory side dish and it comes mild to spicy hot.
|Kimchi, Beto's tortillas and cheese, Konjuchong and rice|
Everyone who has experienced Bulgogi at our house has gone away loving it. Even our newest foreign exchange student from Mexico, Alberto. "Beto" may be Mexican, but he does not like rice, or anything spicy. Of our meals, Beto has only liked spaghetti and meatballs, angelhair pasta with a tomato parmesan alfredo sauce, hamburgers and beef sausage on the grill. Soft white bread with butter and and corn are about the only side-dishes he'll eat. I make sure there are always flour tortillas, deli ham and cheese on hand for his self-service.
This is a large amount which just barely feeds our dozen diners. You could make this much and have delicious leftovers, or reduce accordingly.
6 spring onions; white part sliced thinly, green part sliced in 1/2-1" pieces
6 cloves garlic, smashed (reduce if you are not a garlic fan)
12 Tb soy sauce (use the best you can find)
8-12 Tb red wine (I use any kind if I'm out of red)
6 Tb Honey
6 Tb Brown Sugar
6 Tb Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste (I usually don't add any, the soy sauce is salty enough)
Whisk all the above together in a glass lasagne pan or other large shallow dish. Taste the marinade. If you like it a bit sweeter, add more honey or brown sugar. Add to the marinade:
3 lbs very thinly sliced beef
I have bought "bulgogi beef" and find that it is usually too thickly sliced for us. I have experimented with expensive cuts and cheap cuts. The best seem to be the middle of the road. Too-lean beef results in tough and chewy bulgogi. An arm roast or chuck or something I've found labelled "mock steak" work fine.
A tip for cutting the beef is to put it into the freezer until it is just firm--not hard--about an hour. I find the ideal size for slicing is a piece about 2 inches high and 3 inches wide. Cut across the grain, very thinly. Place all sliced meat into the marinade. Marinate overnight preferably, but at least 1-2 hours.
Heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat with a tablespoon of oil. Fry meat in small batches, moving it around frequently. Cook until no longer pink and the juices have thickend and carmelized. Transfer to large serving bowl and repeat until all meat is cooked.
Serve with large lettuce leaves, kimchee and/or konjuchong and white rice. Each diner makes a "roll" with the lettuce as the wrap, piling on some rice, bulgogi and kimchee and/or konchuchong. The roll is eaten by hand.
|Building the roll|
|Happy Birthday, Sharon!|
The Abbey Farm Cooks
Photo of Sharon by Emily Roeder Photography