I’m mad about bulgogi.
For picky eaters, it’s probably the “safest” dish people can order at a Korean restaurant. There’s really nothing to dislike about thin slices of beef cooked in a sweet and savory soy-based sauce. It’s kind of like chicken teriyaki. My family occasionally visits Dong Yang in Colombia Heights, MN, and, while the rest of us go for spicy squid or seafood pancakes, my dad always orders beef bulgogi. I’d totally make fun of him if beef bulgogi wasn’t so delicious.
Back when I was a new college grad living in a little studio apartment in Uptown (Minneapolis), this was my favorite meal to prepare. I’d also make a big batch of cream cheese wontons that I’d enjoy with the leftover beef over the course of the week. Now that I have to share with Jake, the leftovers don’t go quite as far these days. This makes this meal even more of a treat, I suppose.
My batch of Korean beef tasted especially delicious because I prepared it with beef raised on Sugar Creek Farm located in the neighboring town of Osage, Iowa. The wontons pictured below are baked, but you can also try the steam-fry method.
Gingery Korean Beef
I always wing this dish, so the measurements are not exact. Don’t worry because you really can’t go wrong with this combination of flavors. Plus, you can adjust the seasoning after the beef is cooked by adding more soy or honey. Just go easy on the sesame oil because too much can overpower a dish.
About 1 lb. of steak (I used two small ribeyes)
Soy sauce or tamari
1 small onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
Honey or brown sugar
1 clove garlic, grated
Fresh ginger, grated (about a teaspoon)
Black pepper, to taste
Rice wine vinegar, a splash (or whatever you have)
Toasted sesame oil
Optional: Cayenne, rushed red pepper or fresh chili.
1 package of mushrooms, large ones quartered, small ones halved
- Trim steaks of excess fat (I leave a little for flavor). Slice thinly, against the grain.
- Place steak in a plastic or glass container. Drizzle with enough soy sauce to coat the slices of meat.
- Add the slices of onion, a drizzle or two of honey, grated garlic, grated ginger and as much black pepper as you’d like.
- Add a splash of rice wine vinegar, a small drizzle of sesame oil, a small drizzle of vegetable oil (I like peanut) and cayenne.
- Marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or longer.
- When it’s time prepare your meal, remove beef from the refrigerator and set aside on the counter.
- Saute mushrooms in a large skillet over medium heat in some vegetable oil. Season with a little salt. When the mushrooms are cooked, set aside.
- Add a little more oil to the same pan and cook your marinated beef and onions. When the beef’s halfway cooked, add the mushrooms back to the beef.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with steamed rice and your favorite vegetable.
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