A Little Korean For You: Bulgogi

Have you ever had Korean Barbecue?  That wonderfully fragrant, grill-it-yourself, goodness?  Living in Los Angeles, we have the pleasure of living near some amazing Korean barbecue restaurants. One of my favorite things about Korean barbecue is being able to grill it yourself, customizing it to your taste.  TJ loves his meat much more well done than I like my meat, so grill-it-yourself kind of places work fantastically for us.

One of our favorite meat dishes is Bulgogi, meaning “Fire Meat” in Korean.  If you’re familiar with Korean barbecue, then you know that Bulgogi is almost a staple at every table.  It is definitely one of the more popular Korean dishes.  What I love about Bulgogi is how easy and fast it is to make.  I’m sure just like with every dish, every chef and every home cook has their own recipe and secret ingredient,  The recipe I use is a bit more basic (hey, I’m no Korean food expert, just a lover of Korean food. I never said this recipe was the most authentic recipe, but it’s a damn good recipe!) but I’ve included a few more variations at the end. We decided to make Bulgogi tonight because I was craving some.  That, and the fact that except for the rib eye, we had all the other ingredients already in our pantry.  All I had to do was call TJ to pick up some rib eye on the way home from work.  Also, it’s not in our picture below, but we also had this with some kimchi and some veggies on the side.

What You’ll Need:

2 pounds sliced rib eye

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon Korean Malt Syrup (mool yut); optional

1 garlic bulb minced (but let’s face it, I throw in much more garlic than this!)


Black pepper

1 green onion, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces, optional

Toasted sesame seeds, optional

What You’ll Do:

Two steps. That’s it. You can do these two steps practically in your sleep – that’s how easy this recipe is.  Ready?  Marinate the rib eye in the soy sauce, oil, sugar, malt syrup, and garlic.  To make things easy and for easy clean-up, I just threw everything into a freezer Ziploc bag, made sure the rib eye was coated evenly and let it marinate in there.


Marinate for approximately 30 minutes.


Stir-fry the meat (or grill it!) until cooked, about 5-7 minutes.


Add some salt and black pepper to season.  Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.  Unfortunately, for us, we were out of sesame seeds and just plain ol’ lazy to go out and get some.  But, for me, sesame seeds adds a great dimension of nutty flavor to the dish. So, don’t be like me and go out and get yourself some toasted sesame seeds (or if you’re feeling ambitious, toast them yourself!).


Serve this with traditional kimchi, steamed rice, lettuce to make lettuce cups, etc.  I’ve even made these to put into makeshift fusion tacos!


If you can’t find mool yut, you could always do without it, or substitute honey, even.  To tenderize the meat, you can always mix in about 2 tablespoons of pear puree.  Adds that bit of sweetness to the marinade while tenderizing the meat!  If you use a good quality cut of meat, like a tender rib eye, I think the tenderizing isn’t even all that necessary! However, the pear puree still adds a lovely sweet note to this dish that already Tastes Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~


One thought on “A Little Korean For You: Bulgogi

  1. Pingback: Tasty Tuesday: 비빔밥 (Bibimbap) | EF Foundation for Foreign Study Mid-Atlantic

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