I didn’t set out to make Bulgogi.
It was Sunday morning and I was digging in my freezer’s meat drawer to find the pork chops to make a soy sauce braised pork chop to go with the noodles I was planning to make on Monday.
And there it was a chuck steak, one that had been reposing in the freezer for, well, for far too long. Why had I bought that cut of meat and then forgot about it? Well the freezer is where things get chucked and forgotten right? No? Maybe it’s just me then.
That beef needed to be cooked up!
And so it was to be Bulgogi. Perfect because I had just bought some apple pears. The recipe is simple enough. Slice your meat as thinly as possible. Or if you can’t slice it thinly enough, grab your meat-hammer and bang your frustrations away.
Make your marinade. Apple pears or Asian pears are great tenderizers. But if you don’t have it apparently kiwi works great too, or even onions.
And that was one tough steak. I think it had been on offer.
So grated ginger (a thumb-sized piece – or if you use a lot of minced ginger, consider grabbing a jar like the one above!), five cloves of garlic, minced, one big shallot (I didn’t have onions), grated Asian pear went into a bowl along with sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, a little fish sauce, white pepper and some brown sugar. Here’s a recipe if you would like precise measurements but you can’t really go wrong with a marinade like this. Just taste it as you mix it, making sure it’s not too sweet or too sour. If you don’t have rice vinegar I’m sure a cider vinegar or just plain white vinegar would work too. It’s more of a splash to brighten up the marinade. No fish sauce? That’s fine too. But you do need the soy sauce and the sesame oil though as it’s hard to get around those flavours.
When it’s ready, add in the sliced beef and mix it up and leave to marinate, preferably overnight but at the very minimum half an hour.
When you’re ready to cook it while just take minutes, especially if it’s really thinly sliced.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables or noodles like Japchae.
The kids love it, probably because it is a little bit sweet and a little bit salty!
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