“Tastes like a dish I would order in a restaurant.”
My husband and I miss eating in restaurants during this pandemic. Sitting a table with a tablecloth and candles, having a waiter come to our table and hand us actual menus, sipping wine while we wait for our dinners to be delivered to our table. Sounds like a dream these days! So when my husband said “This beef tastes like a dish I would order in a restaurant.” I was thrilled.
What is Bulgogi and what makes it so delicious?
I admit, when I browse the spice aisle in the grocery store I look at any spices that are on sale and then I challenge myself to find out how to use that spice. Recently I found a jar of Bulgogi spice.
Bulgogi translates in Korean to “fire meat”. It is usually made with ribeye beef. The beef is marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and sugar before it is grilled.
One of the key ingredients in Bulgogi is sesame. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much flavor comes from these little tiny seeds and especially from sesame oil. Bulgogi seasoning also has dried apple, brown sugar, dehydrated soy sauce, garlic onion and miso powder in it. Is it any wonder why it is so flavorful?
Secret Ingredient: A pear!
I used beef tenderloin for my Bulgogi because we prefer very lean beef, but ribeye can be substituted in this recipe. Fresh pear gives the sauce a sweetish fruity flavor that balances the fiery spice elements in this dish:
Yield: 4 servings (appetizer size)
- 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 tablespoons Bulgogi seasoning
- 2 small pears, peeled and coarsely grated
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 12 butter lettuce leaves
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Wrap steak in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Unwrap and slice across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Place beef in a bowl. Pour olive oil over beef and sprinkle with bulgogi seasoning. Toss oil and seasoning to coat beef. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
- In a medium bowl, combine pear, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and gochujang. Pour half of sauce mixture over beef slices. Toss to coat beef. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Reserve the other half of sauce to serve with the finished dish.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add steak to the grill pan in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until charred and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and steak.
- For each serving, place 3 butter lettuce leaves on a plate. Top with beef slices.
- Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve reserved sauce in a small bowl on the side.
- Helpful hint: Cover grill pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, pressing the foil into the groves of the pan. Spray the foil lightly with vegetable oil. After cooking, remove foil from pan for easy cleanup.
Southern Spoonful Recipe Column ~ The Roanoker Magazine
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