Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bulgogi: Eli Tested, Mother Approved

We love all the Korean food that we've encountered thus far, but the following recipe is for our absolute favorite dish. Bulgogi, which means "fire meat" is thinly sliced, marinated beef in a lettuce wrap with rice. (Above is an authentic table setting with myriads of side dishes, they must like washing dishes.) Pretty much every person that has ever eaten at our house has had bulgogi and everyone seems to love it, even the Gochujang, a uniquely spicy red paste dotted on sparingly. The meat cooked on a table top grill (I'm sure you can use your electric griddle), which makes it a fun choice for entertaining. Guests can cook their own meat as they eat. I'm afraid Eli doesn't afford us such leisurely eating, so I brown the meat ahead of time and we just dig in.
I'm not sure if Eli likes it so much because I especially craved it while pregnant with him, but he stuffed himself silly last week when we made this for dinner. He was like a ferocious animal, eating straight off the plate, bypassing utensils or hands and grabbing meat off our plates and from the serving bowl. We've never seen him eat so much (in Oregon, 1 shrimp was a dinner), he even ate the rice and lettuce that go along with the meat. Let's just say I was pleased, since his scrawniness is one of my motherly worries. And now for the recipe that has worked miracles:

Broiled Beef Bulgogi (serves 4)

4 Scallions, coarsely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP Toasted Sesame Seeds
3 TBSP Soy Sauce
2 tsp. rice wine
1 TBSP Sesame Oil
2 TBSP Sugar
Pepper to taste
1 LB thinly (no more than 1/4") sliced against the grain filet mignon (if your boss is coming for dinner), or sirloin, round stake, or london broil. (I'm sure your friendly neighborhood butcher can cut a roast for free on his fancy machine if you want to make your life easier, otherwise, freeze the meat for an hour to make slicing easier).

Combine all the ingredients and let marinate for at least 1 hour. Preheat broiler or barbecue (brush on vegetable oil if its not a non-stick surface, otherwise, don't use at all) and cook meat in batches, one layer at a time- this is crucial for searing and flavor, Brian's too impatient and cooks it all at once and it turns soggy. Should only take 30 seconds/side.

Serve with romaine lettuce leaves, sticky rice (1/2 C. before cooking/person), and gochujang.
Not the most beautiful plate, but de-lish. It's so healthy, we always eat plenty and don't feel too bad about it.
I made it this time with chicken breast since beef is getting too expensive for my personal $1.99/lb limit. It was a good choice because Eli could chew it easier and therefore eat more.
I hope everyone makes this one, let me know how it goes. Or you can come over and we'll gladly make it for you, maybe even with filet mignon... maybe.

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