Thursday, September 2, 2010

Korean Bulgogi Beef

Asian cuisine will always be comfort food to me. It doesn't matter if it's Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese or even Korean food. I like to get a dose of any of these cuisines at least once a week. One of my favorite Asian cuisines is Korean for its combination of sweet with spicy flavors, various textures and all the delicious banchan (side dishes) Korean cuisine is known for. A dish my husband and I are especially fond of is Korean Bulgogi Beef. The secret to this dish is all in the marinade....

Korean Bulgogi is a dish of thinly sliced sirloin beef that's marinated overnight. Once marinated, it's grilled or cooked in a hot skillet with julienned carrots, green onions and white onions. But the key part of this dish is the marinade. It's a soy sauce based marinade with sesame oil for flavor and aroma, garlic, sugar, seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper) and pear nectar. It may seem odd to have a fruit nectar included but it adds a nice bit of sweetness and is said to help tenderize the beef as it marinates.

* You can find pear nectar in the juice aisle and/or in the Hispanic/Latin food aisle, oddly enough. Look for the Kern's, Goya or Jumex brand that's sold in 12 oz cans.

Korean Bulgogi Beef
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds + more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pear nectar
1 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 green onion, chopped into 1-2 inch lengths
1/2 yellow onion, sliced

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, garlic, sugar, salt, black pepper and pear nectar and add the beef. Seal the bag and distribute the marinade throughout the beef. Allow the beef to marinate for at least 3 hours, however overnight is best.

In a large skillet (I use my cast iron skillet) over high heat, add a tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering. Remove the beef from the marinade and place in the hot skillet. Discard marinade. Brown the beef on both sides and then add the carrots, green onions and sliced white onions. Cook until the vegetables start to become tender but still maintains a slight crunch. Serve over steamed rice garnished with more sesame seeds or in large lettuce leaves, rolled up and eaten like a burrito.

Alternatively, you can cook the beef on a gas/charcoal grill and saute the vegetables separately.