Sunday, 12 October 2008

Korean-ish Bulgogi

A simple dish that is also a good workout as you have to pound some beef as flat as you can! I adapted this from a classic Korean recipe and made it a lot simpler.


1. 500 gm rib-eye steak (for 2 persons, extra 250 gm each for extra persons)
2. Honey (3 tablespoons, extra tablespoon per extra person)
3. Dark soy sauce (unsweetened), (2 tablespoons, extra tablespoon per extra person)
4. Ripe sweet pear (large)
5. Large leek (pick one with lots of white stem)

From your pantry
  • Olive oil (2 teaspoons, extra teaspoon per extra person)
  • Ginger (around 4 cms, extra cms per extra person)
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce (light) (around 3 table spoons, extra tablespoon per extra person)
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Rice
This dish needs time for the beef to absorb the interesting marinade but once that is done, the rest of the cooking is very simple.


Start by cooking the rice, as follows:

1. Wash the rice in your smaller saucepan until the water runs a little clearer (use half a cup per person)
2. Pour off water and add back clean water in roughly 1.25:1 proportion, ie. if you used a cup of rice, now add 1 1/4 cups of water to the WET rice
3. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and cover saucepan
4. Put on gas or electric ring at high heat, until rice boils hard, then turn it down to minimum. Rice will be cooked in 15 mins more.

While waiting for the rice to cook, prepare the marinade as follows:

1. Grate the pear into a bowl, roughly 10-12 tablespoons
2. Grate the ginger into another bowl, then squeeze the juice out of the grated ginger into the pear puree
3. Add the dark soy sauce to the pear & ginger puree
4. Add the normal soy sauce to the
pear & ginger puree
5. Add the honey to the
pear & ginger puree
6. Shake or grind some salt into the puree
7. Grind some fresh pepper into the puree
8. Now mix well. The marinade is complete.

Prepare the meat and leek as follows:

1. Pound the beef on both sides with the meat hammer until it is reduced in thickness by 70-80%; ie. if it started as one-inch thick, after pounding, it should be 0.2-0.3 inch thick.
2. Cut the flattened beef across the muscle grain, into thin slices
3. Place the slices into a big bowl or saucepan and mix the marinade well into the meat, and leave for 30 mins or longer
4. Trim the top and bottom of the leek and cut down the middle of the stem. Wash the leek.
5. Cut the halves of the leek across the stem into 2 cm strips
6. If you are adding garlic, peel and cut strips of garlic; just 2-3 mm thickness is fine.

Cook the leek and meat as follows:

1. After marinading the meat for 30 mins or more, put the olive oil into the frying pan over a high heat
2. When the oil is hot, toss in the leek (and garlic) and stir fry until the leek is starting to wilt
3. Remove the beef from the marinade and fry it in the frying pan with the leek
4. After a minute or so, add the rest of the marinade sauce to the frying pan
5. Stir-fry the beef until it changes colour uniformly (1-3 mins, maximum) and turn the heat off
6. Leave for 1-2 mins while the beef absorbs more of the marinade flavour.

And, er, that's it! Serve the beef and cooked marinade on top of portions of rice and enjoy! If you wish, you can also add beansprouts when frying the leeks. Or chop up some chillis and add that in as well when cooking the meat. Or sprinkle some roasted sesame seed on top of the meat. Or garnish the whole dish with some cucumber and salad. You just can't fail with this delicious dish!

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