Korea Town in Los Angeles made me fall in love with Korean Barbecue . We have had our share of Korean Barbecue, across cities,hence then. From the famous Kogi Food Truck, in LA, to Chosun Barbecue, in Kansas City, we made sure our bellies and hearts were full. The sizzle of the grill, when the marinated beef touches it, the caramelization and the unmistakable taste and texture, whats not to love about it.

Bulgogi , is a Korean Barbecue staple. Bul means Fire, and Gogi means Meat.  Almost paper thin slices of beef, are marinated, and then grilled . If you are at a Korean restaurant, then your server, brings you, your choice of meat, and you grill it , to your taste. If you are making Bulgogi, at home, then you have the choice to either grill it, or pan fry it in a cast iron pan. While my husband loves to grill, this time around, we decided to use our cast iron pan. The juices don't fall in the fire, if you pan fry them. So you have higher chances of not making your meat dry, if you are doing it at home.

We were shopping at the local Pan Asian store, when I came across a tray of Beef marked -Bulgogi Beef. The trick with Bulgogi is convincing your butcher, to cut those paper thin slices of Rib eye or Sirloin or Flank Steak. If you are already getting pre-cut Bulgogi Beef, then just grab it.

What makes it different, from any other stir fried Beef, besides the cut of meat? Its a star ingredient in the marinade. Bulgogi is marinated among other things, in Asian Pear Puree. The Pear acts as a meat tendersizer and also helps in caramelizing the meat, when it hits the pan or grill. We could not lay our hands on Asian Pears this time, so we settled for an ordinary pear. It didn't make much of a difference in taste, honestly. Soy sauce, sesame oil, onion - ginger-garlic puree/paste are the other ingredients. You can use julienned onions and carrots, in the marinade and grill them with the meat. The soy is the basic salting agent. Its very important that you let the meat marinate overnight. It helps in breaking those connecting tissues, in the already thinly sliced beef. Grill or pan fry them meat, till you can see it getting caramelized along the edges. If you are pan frying it, then make sure you dry out all the liquid. You can garnish with some sesame seeds, if you like. I don't prefer that, so we didn't do it. And Bulgogi is best served over a bed of hot steamed rice.

Its a very easy dinner idea, if you do the meal prep a day earlier. Throw on the marinated meat on the grill, and all it takes is 10 minutes or even less.


Recipe adapted from :

Ingredients :
Beef Sirloin/Tenderloin/Rib eye : Thinly sliced - 1/2 inch x 2 inchx1/8th of an inch thick (cut against the grain)
Asian Pear/Pear : Puree : 1/2 cup
Onion : Puree : 1/4 cup
Garlic : 4 large cloves
Soy Sauce : 2 tbsp
Green onion : 1 chopped (we had run out of it )
Brown Sugar : 2 tbsp
Black Pepper Powder : A pinch
Carrot: 1/2 large
Toasted Sesame Oil : 1 tbsp

Skin the pear and core it. Throw it in the blender along with onion and blend to a paste. Finely mince the garlic and ginger. Mix it all together in a large bowl.

Julienne the carrots.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients into the marinade.

Carefully separate the slices of beef and dunk it in the marinade. Close the lid of your marination bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

We had pan fried our Bulgogi in a cast iron pan. Cook it till all the liquid has disappeared and the meat has started to caramelise.

Serve over a bed of steamed rice.

Bon Appetit ! 

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