For those that didn’t know I lived in South Korea for 5 years. So Korean food is part of my blood. I often make Korean dishes and very often to go the Asian Grocery stores here and get some fresh Kimchi.
For those that are new to Korean food there are a few things that are key to Korean cooking. Here are 4 things you need to know or get, to start cooking Korea food. There is a lot more to Korean food but these are 4 key starting points.
- Kimchi a traditional Korean fermented dish made of vegetables with garlic, salt and chili past, the seasoning varies a little depending on the family. It is most commonly made with napa cabbage and other vegetables such as radish, green onion, chive, and cucumber. Kimchi is the most common banchan, or side dish, in Korean cuisine. Kimchi is also a main ingredient for other common Korean dishes such as Kimchi stew; kimchi jjigae), Kimchi soup ( kimchi gook), and kimchi fried rice kimchi bokkeumbap).
- Gochujang is an amazing chili paste that is used in Korean cooking and also as a condiment. It is spicy but with a little bit of sweetness.
- Doenjang is a traditional Korean fermented soybean paste. Its name literally means “thick paste” in Korean. Also used as a condiment with Bulgogi or in marinades.
- Sesame oil is an oil from sesame seeds. It is very common cooking oil in the Korean kitchen.
Bulgogi is one of my favorite Korean dishes. In restaurants this meat is broiled at the table on a grill over charcoal or gas. The meat is very thinly sliced, most American grocery stores will not slice the meat this thin, you can do it yourself if you freeze the meat, it is much easier to cut thinly. But if you go to an Asian grocery store you can get thinly cut sukiyaki meat that works great with bulgogi.
Then once you are ready to eat this bulgogi it is served with lettuce, difference kinds of kimchi, doenjang and rice. They way I love to do it is take a piece of lettuce, put some doenjang on it, meat, rice and kimchi and make a roll. It is delishhh!
Another new condiment you might see here is Mirin. Mirin is an is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine, and a sweet rice wine. I like to use this for cooking in stead of sugar if you need to add some sweetness.
For those that do not live close to an Asian grocery store you can eliminate the kimchi, doenjang and use other chili peppers and it will still turn out great.
For other variations to this recipe you can also do this with pork or chicken.
Bulgogi – Korean BBQ
1 lb very thin sliced beef
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp miring or sugar or 1/2 Asian pear in small cubes sliced
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 medium green onions chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger finely chopped
1 tbsp rice wine
2 Korean fresh chili peppers sliced or 1 tsp of dried Korean chili flakes
In a bowl add the soy sauce, mirin (sugar or pear if you choose to use that) sesame oil, salt, pepper, green onions, garlic cloves ginger, rice wine and chili pepper. Stir all together. Then add your thinly sliced meat. Marinade for a few hours.
Serve with lettuce, kimchi, doenjang, and rice.