Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Here's a recipe that's a go-to for me. Korean bulgogi. To make it easier to pull together in a days notice, I buy a huge piece of either contrafile or bonfile. Not sure what contrafile is, but bonfile is beef tenderloin. And it's cheap here, if you can find it. I cut the meat up in 1/2 pound chunks when I get it home and freeze it in sections so I can easily take some meat out and let it defrost during the day.

I'm not sure where this particular bulgogi recipe orginates from. But I keep it in my personal book of recipes that I've collected over the last decade.

It helps to keep the meat partially frozen so you can slice it very thinly. And don't forget to slice it across the grain to help make it more tender. About 600 grams, or just over a pound.

Then make the marinade: 3 T sugar; 2 T vodka (or rice wine if you have it, which I don't!); 5 T green onions, chopped; 2 T garlic, chopped; 6 T soy sauce; 1 T sesame seeds and 2 T sesame oil.

Next, add the thinly sliced beef and allow the beef to marinate for several hours in the fridge.

Make sure you add another food spot to your favorite cookbook that you hope to one day pass down to your daughters. By the way, this bugs the hell out of my husband. But I sort of like the culinary footprint it leaves!

Make a pot of rice. 1 cup rice to two cups water. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes. That's for white rice. Brown rice takes a bit longer.

Run to the garden and get some lettuce; cut-and-come again. Typically you'd want a sturdy lettuce like romaine, but we make due with what we have. These are heat tolerant varieties which works well for our 105 degree days during the summer.

Rinse in bottled water (in our neck of the woods) and spin dry in a salad spinner. Because trust me, Tajik tummy ain't no fun. Just ask my sister. And for everyone else that's been here, frankly. Place on a cloth towel to dry.

Pre-heat a grill pan lightly covered in oil. Spread the marinated beef out evenly; don't over crowd lest you steam your meat instead of sear it. You are looking for caramelization so make sure you let your beef sit for a few minutes. Don't be tempted to push it around. Do this in batches.

Then take a really blurry picture of the seared meat.

Now get your Korean gochujang paste out. If you don't have any, or haven't ever had it, then you are in for a hot and spicy surpirse!

Sorry, I clearly lack the photographic skills not to make this look like something leftover by the huge box turtle we found in our yard this spring. But trust me, if you are a heat seeker, you'll love this stuff.

When ready to serve, put the whole lettuce leaves out, with the beef and the rice. Here's the fun part. Build a sort of Korean burrito by taking a lettuce leaf, spreading some gochujang on it, a spoonful of rice (or not, as in the photos) and some beef. Roll it up, take a bit, lean back and savor.

Repeat. Repeat again. Ad infinitum.


Alanna said...

Wow, you have a bulgogi recipe. You just made my week.

A Broad Living Abroad said...

Alanna, if you need some gochujang, c'mon over and get a few tablespoons!

Anonymous said...

food spots don't bother me when you are making such yummy dinners!

Anonymous said...

hey-- that looks like my handwriting on the recipe! Who else would have a vodka substitution for rice wine? It's time for us to have another Korean food fest. Shan