Saturday, July 16, 2011


Bulgogi is one of the most well-known Korean dishes. It is comprised of marinated paper-thin slices of beef that are grilled and served in lettuce wraps with various banchan. Lettuce leaves tend to fall apart for wraps, so I use savoy cabbage leaves instead. Additionally, I dramatically reduce the amount of sweetener in the dish. Otherwise my version is fairly traditional. I like to serve it with kimchi, scallions, sesame seeds, gochujang (a type of thick Korean hot sauce; I use it in my hot wings), thinly-sliced fruit (Asian pear or nectarines, depending on the season), and maybe cucumber.

I live near a Korean market, and they sell pre-sliced beef specifically for bulgogi. I've seen shaved beef at other supermarkets, but it is usually a much fattier cut. You could always buy something like a top round London broil and either slice it yourself or ask the butcher to do so. Alternately, I've made the lettuce wraps with ground beef before. I find loose ground beef to be very messy in wraps so I form them into mini-meatballs when I do this. It makes a nice hors d'oeuvre.

Serves 2-4 as a main dish, more as an appetizer

  • 1 lb thinly-sliced beef for bulgogi (preferably a lean cut such as top round)
For the marinade:
  • 3 Tbs tamari or soy sauce
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp-1 Tbs sweetener, to taste (honey, coconut sugar, stevia, or Splenda would all work)
For serving, some or all of the following:
  • Lettuce leaves or Savoy cabbage leaves
  • Kimchi
  • Thinly-sliced Asian pear or nectarine
  • Julienned or sliced scallion
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Gochujang
  • Thinly-sliced or julienned cucumber
  1. Combine the beef with the marinade ingredients. Marinate for a couple hours or overnight.
  2. Broil the beef on high or cook in a very hot cast iron skillet until browned.
  3. Serve in lettuce or cabbage leaves with assorted garnishes.
Variation: Use ground beef instead of sliced beef.


Juliet said...

wow, that sounds amazing. I'm sitting here eating my chicken wishing it was that.

Carolyn said...

Great recipe. I love bulgogi and will be so happy to be able to make it at home!

Carolyn said...

PS - you asked about the ricotta in my bundt cakes...mostly for texture, you can't really taste it.

Erica said...

Glad you guys liked it, and Carolyn, thanks for the info on the cakes! I'm itching to use my mini bundt pants...

Jennifer said...

I love bulgogi! This looks and sounds delish!

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