Our Tried-and-True Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe

bowl with korean beef bulgogi and snap peas
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Asian food is famous for the variety of flavors that make a big impression on your tastebuds. Multiple combinations of sweet, sour, and spicy create thousands of tasty dishes that can easily become a regular part of your menu.

One such dish is Korean Beef Bulgogi, also known as Korean BBQ beef or simply KBBQ. Bulgogi, which means “fire meat” in Korean, dates back to 37 B.C. Since then, the recipe has gone through many changes and evolved into the smoky and juicy dish we know today.  

While Bulgogi seems complex at first, it only takes a few minutes to prepare. Here is the traditional recipe:

  • 5 pounds of thinly sliced beef (any part without too much fat can work)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine (or mirin sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 thinly sliced medium onion
  • 1 thinly sliced carrot

Marinade: Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic, grated ginger, rice wine, and sesame seeds. Stir until the sugar dissolves fully.

Put the sliced beef in a large bowl and pour the marinade inside. Mix the beef with marinade until every piece is evenly coated. Then, cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least one hour. Ideally, you should leave it there for 4 hours or even overnight.

Heat a large skillet or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the marinated beef into the pan. Try to leave as much marinade as you can in the bowl. Too much liquid can interfere with the cooking.

Cook the beef in batches. Putting just enough of it to cover the pan’s surface will ensure that each slice is cooked evenly. Stir-fry the beef for about 2-3 minutes.

Remove the cooked beef from the pan and set it aside. Add the sliced onions, carrots, and green onions to the same pan. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened.

Pour the marinade you have left into the pan with the vegetables. Sautee for an additional 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.

Now you have two options:

  1. Return the cooked beef to the pan and toss it with the vegetables and sauce. Stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes to ensure everything is well combined and heated through.
  2. Sprinkle the cooked beef with sesame seeds and sliced green onions on a plate and serve the veggies as a side dish.

Note: You can also cook Bulgogi on BBQ for an authentic smoky flavor. Simply grill the marinated beef slices until cooked to your desired doneness.

Savory Korean-style meat works well with a variety of side dishes. Some of them are:

  • Kimchi – traditional Korean side dish made of fermented vegetables,
  • Japchae – stir-fried glass noodle dish made with sweet potato noodles and vegetables
  • Korean Radish Salad (Musaengchae) – made with julienned Korean radish, carrots, green onions, and dressed with vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.

These are just a few ideas to consider. You don’t have to cook anything fancy to complement Bulgogi. Rice is a timeless Asian side dish classic.  

The key to tasty Korean Beef Bulgogi is the right ingredients. All you have to do is find an Asian grocery store that sells popular Asian products, including rice that goes perfectly with your homemade Bulgogi.

At International Fresh Market, we have all the grocery essentials for your boldest Asian recipes. We make it easy to pamper your tastebuds at any time. 

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