Bulgogi is one of the most popular Korean food that a lot of people are familiar with here in America. I’ve been seeing more Bulgogi recipes on blogs lately. I love Bulgogi, too. It was always one of my favorite things to eat when I was growing up in Korea. Bulgogi is more of a “make-it-at-home” type of a meal. I never really ate it at restaurants growing up. My mom made it for dinner occasionally and I always got so excited when she did. In fact, when I went back to Korea to visit four years ago, the very first thing she made for me and my husband was her Bulgogi.
Typically Bulgogi is not really a “grilled” food. Usually it’s made in a pot or a large pan, usually with mushrooms, carrots, and other veggies. The grilled Korean BBQ is typically called “Kalbi” which is marinaded in a sauce made for short ribs. These short ribs are what everyone goes to restaurants for. It’s a very popular “dine-out” food among many Koreans.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I do love the way they serve Bulgogi in America! I love grilled meat. In fact, I often grill my bulgogi meat, too.
For Bulgogi, very thinly sliced rib eye meat is used. When rib eye is too expensive, I get tritip or flank steak. This way, you get more meat for a better price. If you go to a nicer local grocery store (I usually go to Safeway or Raley’s – I live in Northern Cal) and ask someone at their meat counter to slice the meat as thin as they can, like deli thin, they will usually slice the meat for you. It’s extremely hard and time consuming to do it on your own so don’t think you’ll just do it yourself. Don’t hesitate to ask them to do it for you. The meat counters usually close at 7:30pm so go before then if you want them to slice the meat for you.
It is traditional to eat Bulgogi with lettuce, garlic, and some hot peppers to make lettuce wraps. You can also add some paste made for lettuce wraps, called “Ssamjang”. It’s a combination of some gochujang (red pepper paste) and duenjang (Korean soy bean paste) and some other things. It’s delicious for lettuce wraps!
Different kinds of mushrooms are really good in Bulgogi Jeongol as well as some carrots and green onions. You may add some of your other favorite veggies. Although not traditional, I think that even some broccoli would be good in it! I didn’t add any onions because my husband doesn’t eat onions (I know! Ugh!) but definitely add some onions if you like them.
Prepare sliced beef and marinade it in the bulgogi sauce.
Add some Shiitake mushrooms.
Add carrots, green onions, and enoki mushrooms.
Stir and continue to cook until the beef is cooked.
- 1½ lbs rib eye steak or tritip or flank steak, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup sliced enoke mushrooms
- ½ cup sliced carrots
- 2 green onions, chopped
- For the Bulgogi marinade: 5 tablespoons soy sauce (or more if needed)
- 5 tablespoons grated Asian pear
- 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon mulyeot (Korean cornsyrup) or honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Sugar as needed (optional)
- Make the marinade by combining all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Marinade the thinly sliced beef in the bulgogi sauce, at least about 30 minutes. (You can marinade the meat longer, maybe even overnight to get a better result)
- Place the marinaded meat in large pan and heat over medium high heat. When the meat starts to cook, add the shiitake mushrooms and stir well with the meat.
- Add the carrots, green onions, and enoke mushrooms (if you like onions, add sliced onions, too) and stir well with the meat. Continue to cook until the beef and the other veggies are cooked, about 5-8 more minutes.
- Serve with lettuce, sliced garlic, sliced peppers, and Ssamjang if desired.
Make lettuce wraps by placing some rice, the meat, a slice of garlic or pepper and a little bit of Ssamjang.