If you haven't noticed my daughters look nothing like me.
Well, maybe a little bit when you get down to the shape of our eyes, nose, face, ears, etc. But at first glance we don't look anything alike! They both have dark hair, dark eyes, and get really tan in the summer. Me?! I have fair skin, light hair, and totally burn in the summer. That is because my hubby is 1/2 Korean and his Korean genes kind of took over! His Mom is from Incheon, Korea! I adore this wonderful tiny lady that is sometimes hard to understand. She helps me with my kids, my house (seriously she could get any stain off of any surface!), helps me learn to make Korean foods, and gives me sound advice on difficult situations.
She taught me how to make Korean Bulgogi (bull-go-gee), but there was one slight problem, in Korea they don't believe in measuring anything. So it was a pinch of this and palm full of that. I thought ok not my typical way of measuring but I'll give it a try...my bulgogi came out horribly! SO I scoured the internet and finally came upon one that I liked. After making a couple changes to it this is what I came up with. It was too salty so I cut down the soy sauce and this recipe called for MSG which I totally am not putting in my food!
Korean Bulgogi Recipe
1 cup water
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic (or 4 whole cloves minced)
6 tbsp sugar (this may equate to something else but I haven't figured it out so I just do 6 tbsp)
3 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp sesame seeds (you can add more if you like)
6 scallions cut at a slant into 1/2 pieces
4 lbs london broil or top round
For whatever reason I left the scallions and the beef out of the pic...trust me you need them!
Start by mincing the garlic. I just buy the little jar of pre-minced garlic because mincing garlic is probably my least favorite thing to do! Add it to the bowl, add the sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, scallions, soy sauce, and water. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
It should look something like this:
When choosing your london broil or top round (really they are the same cut of meat one is just cut thicker). Choose a piece that has very little fat and marbling in it. The fat and marbling makes it more difficult to cut.
Cut the meat super thin. I mean paper thin! To do this don't let your meat get completely defrosted. It is easier to cut it when it is still a bit frozen and a SUPER sharp knife. I always hone mine before cutting just to be sure it is nice and sharp! Hold your knife at an angle, this will give you ultra thin slices that are big enough to grill. If thats how you decide to cook it but we'll talk about that later. Cutting the meat really is the most time consuming part of this recipe. If you happen to have a Lee Lee's Asian Market (we had one in Chandler and they said they were building one here in Tucson but construction has slowed to a halt, due to the economy I guess) you can go there and they will have pre-cut meat you can buy by the pound. You can also check any of the local asian markets or even ask your butcher. My butcher I swear has it out for me and has always refused to cut my meat for me. Oh well! I've gotten pretty good at it.
Add all of your meat to your marinade that you made earlier. Let it set for a minimum of 4 hours. I make mine at lunchtime and we can eat it for dinner. But you can make it the night before or up to 3 days in advance!
If I have a ton of time on my hands, which is rarely ever I will grill it. Which is how bulgogi is traditionally made. Literally translated bulgogi means "fire beef". But it takes a LONG time because you have to lay each strip on the grill and try not to loose half of it to the fire! Some strips will be bigger than others and inevitably fall between the grates.
Most times I just cook it in a pan on the stove. I start on high heat and let the meat get grey. When the meat is grey I drain the juice off into the serving bowl.
The juice is really tasty over rice and since it has now been cooked it is no longer dangerous to eat. Then I let the meat get really nice and brown, even a little charred in some spots. Mimicking the flavor of the grill! Well, kinda...there really is nothing like real barbecued bulgogi!
Serve with rice, egg rolls, or whatever other "asian" side you have laying around. Sometimes we just do rice and broccoli. This particular occasion was my sister in laws birthday so my mother in law went all out and made egg rolls and hot ribs! I still haven't been able to duplicate her hot ribs (bbq sauce and hot bean paste mostly, her own recipe I've never seen them at any Korean restaurant) or egg rolls but if I get close I will let you know!
You could easily halve this recipe and it would serve a family of four. This amount is what I make to feed our extended family of 10! My mother in law has now passed to bulgogi making torch on to me, she says that it is even better than hers. My husband and brother in law agree! Try it out and let me know what you think!