Bulgogi is a Korean dish comprised of marinated meat (usually thinly sliced ribeye) that is either grilled, pan seared, or stir fried. For my spin on this dish, I use a wok, and serve over rice. Check out the details below, and be sure to rate and comment on my recipe once you’ve tried it (see bottom of the page)!
Getting Started–What You’ll Need
For this recipe, you’ll need the following:
- About one lb of beef. You can get thinly sliced/shaved ribeye, stir fry beef (as seen above), or a whole sirloin/ribeye–you’ll have to thinly slice those yourself.
- Rice–1 to 2 cups, depending how much you need to make (see below for rice prep)
- Water or Stock–this is for your rice. The general rule is 1.5 cups of liquid per 1 cup of dry rice
- For the Marinade
- Soy Sauce–I use about a cup and a half
- Mirin/Rice Wine Vinegar–This is optional, but I like the added acidity and sweetness it brings to the marinade–I use around three tbsp
- Garlic or Garlic Powder–Use 2-3 cloves minced fresh garlic or 1-2 tbsp powder
- Sesame seeds–You can use white, black, or both. I used both for this.
- Sesame oil–You’re going to need a good amount. You really want the sesame flavor to come through. I used around 4-5 tbsp
- 1 Onion–you will slice this thin (see below)
- 1 bunch Green Onion–You’ll chop these as well.
- Sugar–you’ll have to eyeball this. You want enough for your marinade to be slightly sweet–and remember, as your sauce reduces, the salt will concentrate, so add sugar a spoonful at a time until you reach your desired sweetness level
- Sriracha–OPTIONAL, but I put a drizzle in mine for a little extra heat
Step 1: Make a Marinade
I start by toasting some sesame seeds. FEAR NOT! It isn’t difficult. Pour some sesame seeds in a pot and toast over medium heat. You want to stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until you smell the toasty sesame aroma. Be careful not to burn them! When in doubt, take them off the heat early!
Once your seeds are toasted, remove the pot from the heat. Chop your green onions, and throw them in!
Next, you’ll slice your onion into SUPER thin slices. Pro-tip: use a SHARP knife to prevent onion tears! Or run your knife under water before slicing!
If slicing onions scares you, here are some pictures to help you out.
Add those slices to the pot, and stir everything together.
Now we add our sauces. Add your soy sauce and sesame oil. Then throw in your garlic/garlic powder. Mix until incorporated. Add sugar 1 spoonful at a time until you have a slightly sweet and salty sauce.
Once your marinade is ready, it’s time to add the meat. You want to make sure you’re separating each slice as you add it, so everything is evenly coated. Once your meat is in the sauce, MASSAGE THAT MEAT (lol!) with your hand. Literally grab it and squeeze. Do this multiple times. Not only does this help absorb the marinade, but it tenderizes the meat!
Let your meat sit in that marinade while you get your rice ready. You could even marinade it up to 24 hours for more depth of flavor!
Rice, Rice, Baby
Rice is one of the scariest yet easiest dishes to prepare. It took me FOREVER to make decent rice, but I’ve finally mastered the craft. To start, the ratio of liquid to rice should be 1.5 cups liquid per 1 cup rice. You can expect 1 cup of rice to yield 2 cups when cooked.
To Wash, or Not to Wash?
Some folks SWEAR by rinsing/washing your rice prior to cooking. I can’t lie, it does make the rice taste better, as it removes excess starch. To do this, put your rice in a bowl and cover it in cold water. Let it sit until the water turns white, then drain the water. Repeat these steps until the water ultimately comes out clear.
Now, the Cooking Part
Add your liquid, whether it’s water or chicken/veggie/beef stock, to a pot and bring to a boil.
Once your liquid is boiling, stir in your rice. Let it come back to a boil, then turn the heat down to LOW. Cover with a lid (or I’ve found a plate to be just as effective). Let it cook for about 15 mins.
RULE #1: DO NOT MESS WITH THE RICE AS IT’S COOKING!!!!!!!!
I mean it. My Filipina grandmother taught me this. Don’t open the lid. Don’t stir it. Don’t touch it. Keep ya hands off!! After about 15 mins, turn the burner off and let it sit, covered.
Now, for That Meat
I like to use a wok, personally, but you can also use a skillet. Place on the stove and set to high heat. Let it get hot before you add your meat. Add your meat a few pieces at a time, and try to limit the amount of sauce you add with it (you don’t want your meat to boil).
Let the meat sear on high heat. If you find there is a lot of liquid happening, move your meat to the side (see below) to prevent it from boiling. It should take about 6-8 mins for your meat to cook through, depenNding on thickness.
Last step–Add the rest of your marinade. Let it all simmer together over medium heat until it gets hot throughout.
Serve over rice and enjoy!! You can garnish with some freshly chopped green onion, if you’d like!