Korean Beef (Bulgogi)


March 12, 2013

Author: KatieChin

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Look up Bulgogi in any Korean food lover’s dictionary and you will see Garlicky, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth goodness next to it.  Bulgogi is so yummy it is listed at number 23 on World’s 50 most delicious foods readers’ poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011.  Bulgogi translates as marinated grilled meat.  The succulent deliciousness comes from a marinade of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and garlic.  By using lean beef, it’s loaded with flavor but not a lot of fat.  It’s very common to use a fruit puree or fruit juice to tenderize meats in Korean recipes.  I chose kiwi which I think works best and you can easily puree in your blender or food processor.   Bulgogi is also fun for kids because they can make their own Bulgogi tacos by rolling up the beef in a lettuce leaf.  While Bulgogi is typically grilled, I pan-fried the beef for this recipe for ease and convenience.  Roasted sesame seeds add flavor and texture and are a nice garnish.  You can find roasted sesame seeds in the gourmet section of Cost Plus World Market. 



1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons pureed kiwi fruit

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon roasted or toasted sesame seeds

2 medium garlic cloves (crushed)

1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger

1 teaspoon srircha sauce (optional)

3 green onions (chopped, including greens)

Stir-fry Ingredients:

2 lbs sirloin steak, sliced paper thin against the grain

2 tablespoons canola oil

16 red leaf or butter lettuce leaves

2 hot steaming white jasmine rice

kim chee

marinated cucumbers


  • Mix ingredients (except meat) in bowl and set aside for 20 minutes. Place the sliced meat into a resealable gallon size storage bag. Pour the marinade over the meat. Place in refrigerator for one hour (any longer and the beef will become mushy).
  • Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Stir-fry the beef until browned and to desired doneness.
  • Scoop a spoonful of rice into lettuce cups and top with beef mixture. Garnish with more toasted sesame seeds. Serve with kim chee and marinaded cucumbers on the side.
  • *To make marinaded cukes: Toss sliced cucumbers with 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/4 cup vinegar. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.