Korean food to me is always about kimchi and hot and spicy goodness. I love it. There’s also another popular Korean dish called bulgogi – which is namely marinated meat grilled on a hot plate. Nothing spicy about it at all but just as wonderful. The thinly sliced sirloin, pork or chicken is marinated in a sweet soy based sauce, then either grilled or pan fried. Grilling the meat creates caramelisation and the blackened bits are the best! However you do risk smoking the entire kitchen…unless you’re blessed with a backyard and a nice outdoor grill. (I live in a top floor one-bedroom mews flat in London – tough luck on the backyard!)
Pan frying the marinated meat is commonplace as well – even in restaurants. I find that with pan frying, instead of the caramelised bits, you get a bonus syrupy sauce that is excellent drizzled on steamed rice.
To make this a one dish meal, I normally do a quick stir fry of bean sprouts with minced garlic and sesame oil. No seasoning is required as the beef and all its glorious sauce will be plated right over the sprouts. Key thing to remember is not to overcook the sprouts – keep ‘em crunchy.
I’ve made the marinade at home before and it’s simple enough, here’s a recipe – but you can also buy the bottled stuff which makes life far easier.
450g thinly sliced beef (I use the pre-sliced beef that’s meant for hot pots, which can be found in asian groceries)
1 small bottle of bulgogi marinade
300g bean sprouts
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Spring onion for garnishing
Marinade the beef with half the bottle of the marinade. Cover and let it sit for at least an hour.
In a hot wok, drizzle some sesame oil, add the minced garlic, fry till fragrant, add the sprouts and stir fry for two minutes.
Remove and plate the sprouts in the serving dish.
Heat a little bit of cooking oil to the wok, add the beef and stir fry for about five to seven minutes till the meat is cooked. If you prefer to have more of a sauce, add the remaining marinade to the beef half way through cooking.
Dish the meat and all that wonderful sauce on top of the cooked sprouts. Garnish with spring onions. Serve with a bowl of steamed rice. Yum yum…