Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bulgogi with Vegetables

Bulgogi, the savory-sweet Korean beef dish, is as popular as ever these days. Although usually grilled, bulgogi can be made in a skillet if winter cold or lack of equipment forces you into the kitchen.

This dish calls for using kiwi to tenderize the beef. It's unclear to me whether tenderizing is really necessary if you're using ribeye, but it adds a nice flavor to the marinade.

I found this recipe years ago on Epicurious and have made little tweaks to it. I no longer serve it with the side sauce, as I find the cooked sauce provides plenty of flavor. I’ve also added vegetables to the dish. Although some may find that sacrilege, when you consider that bulgogi is now showing up in noodle soup dishes and even tacos, it doesn’t seem that outrageous.

Bulgogi with Vegetables
Adapted from Dok Suni: Recipes from My Mother's Korean Kitchen by Jenny Kwak and Liz Fried

Makes 2 servings

1 lb. rib eye steak, thinly sliced
1/2 fresh kiwi, peeled, minced and muddled
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 sweet onion, halved and sliced into strips about an inch long and 1/4-inch wide
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips about an inch long and 1/4-inch wide

1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. rice vinegar

Sesame seeds

1. Cut the fat off the steak and slice very thinly—about 1/8-inch thick (put the steak in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes before slicing). Add to a medium bowl with the kiwi and brown sugar. Massage mixture to juice the kiwi and mix with the meat. Set aside to marinate about 10 minutes.

2. Heat 2 tsp. canola oil a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and red pepper and stir fry until they are a little browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from pan.

3. Add the last tsp. of canola oil to pan. When hot, add the beef mixture and stir fry until the meat is cooked to the desired doneness (I recommend not cooking it until it is all brown, since that will make it tough). Return the cooked vegetables to the pan to heat. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, vinegar and black pepper and add to mixture. Cook another couple minutes until sauce has reduced a bit, stirring to coat evenly. Serve on plates with rice topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.