Monday, April 26, 2010

Korean Bulgogi Simplified

I grew up in a home where the clan's fundamental creed sounded a bit like this:  "The clothes you wear or the car you own does not really matter (much) in life. The only important element in life is the food you serve on the table. It MUST be good."

An exposure to great "wild" cooks (not chefs) and secret recipes handed down from a span of over four to five generations has fostered a tongue that appreciated epicurean pleasures of many kinds. Learning the different flavors of herbs and spices was simultaneous to discovering the relation between addition and subtraction. Food and cooking was a MAJOR subject in my family. The wet market was just as fundamental as the classroom.

One of the skills I have since acquired is the ability to create my own "secret" recipes. It is my hope that these concoctions will delight the palates of those that will follow me, along with their house guests.

The photo above is what my family had for lunch today. Korean Bulgogi is simplified to mean barbecue Korean style. I used pork sukiyaki cuts for my bulgogi since that was the only meat I had left in my freezer. However, this dish will be FANTASTIC with beef!

Korean Bulgogi Recipe

500 grams cold sukiyaki cut beef or pork
1/4 cup premium light soy sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet sake, available in local grocery stores)
1 tsp chili bean paste (featured in photo as the secret ingredient)
1 head crushed garlic
4 tbsp sugar or honey (I prefer a combination as the latter gives a better glaze)
a few tsps of oil for sauteing
some chopped green onions
some sesame seeds

Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, chili bean paste, garlic, sugar/honey in a bowl. Mix well. Add beef or pork and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Heat a wok until hot. Add oil and spread all around wok. Put the desired amount of bulgogi to the wok and stir constantly until you brown it to the color you see in the photo above. Do NOT overcook or else you will burn the dish and make the meat tough. Top with some chopped onions and sesame seeds. Serve with freshly steamed white rice.

Any uncooked meat can be kept in the refrigerator for future cooking. Just ensure that it is covered to avoid meat drying.

Enjoy your barbecue! Invite me over when you decide to try this recipe out :D

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