My boys loved this dinner so much I barely had time to snap a photo of the dish for you, which is why you're looking at a bowl of leftovers.
The fact that there are any leftovers at all is only because I scooped out a small amount of food, and set it aside, before the hungry natives unleashed their appetite on dinner. These days, picture taking is becoming more and more difficult to execute, and I've decided the only way I can properly document our dinners is if I make them just after breakfast and grab a shot while no one else is around.
So, beef bulgogi. What is it? According to a 2011 CNN poll, it's the 23rd most delicious dish in the world. A Korean delicacy often containing barbecued beef, chicken or pork, it is becoming increasingly popular to make the meal at home via pan-frying the meat after it has soaked in a sweet and spicy marinade. Tess told me to add a kiwi fruit to my dish in order to tenderize the meat and, as usual, she was spot on in her advice. It may sound slightly strange, but my ten year old - the one with the highly sensitive anti-fruit/vegetable tracking device built into his tongue - didn't notice a thing, so trust me on this one and be sure to include it in the recipe.
While I served my bulgogi on a bed of rice, the traditional way is to layer the meat in a lettuce wrap (with or without the rice). Soybean paste is a popular condiment to add to the wraps as well, but we just garnished ours with sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Freezing the meat before slicing it will help to yield very thin strips of beef. Pop it in the freezer for 30-45 minutes, and then cut it on a slight bias against the grain. Just be sure to watch your fingers!
- 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. white sugar
- 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 kiwi, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sesame oil plus extra for pan
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- To serve: sticky rice, sliced green onions, sesame seeds
Place the thinly sliced beef in a shallow dish and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Mix well with your hands or a pair of tongs and set aside for 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a mini food processor or a blender puree the kiwi and onion, and transfer it to a small bowl. Add the soy sauce, remaining sugar, ground pepper, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and garlic and stir well. Pour the mixture over the beef and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Add a little sesame oil to a skillet and heat. Add the beef and cook thoroughly. Serve with sticky rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.