Korean-style stir fried beef (bulgogi)
Anyone want to guess how many trick-or-treaters we got this year? Zero. Zero! It’s been that way since we moved here 3.5 years ago. One of the many downsides to having significant space between lots.
We usually go to our friends’ neighborhood, a series of streets perfect for the overly excited, easily-distracted-by-oncoming-traffic, and LOUD group of toddlers we haul around. The houses are close together, there’s no nonsense of walking up and down flights of stairs to reach the front door, and there’s even a house giving out regular sized candy bars! It seriously cannot be beat.
Yes, we were away from our house for a short period of time, but not for long. Remember we have young kids… we were home by 7 pm.
Around 8:15 our doorbell rang. Finally! Someone to give away all our candy to!
We made it downstairs fast enough to see the young kid running away from our door, stumbling towards the street up the steep hill in our yard, flashlight in hand.
Ding dong ditch. I guess that’s still a thing.
I swear to god if my kids ever do that…!
So you know what I did? I ate two kit kat bars, one mini snickers, and a handful of peanut m&ms. And that was just on the 31st! The number of pieces stolen from my kids, unfortunately, keeps rising. But whatever, ISN’T THAT WHY PEOPLE HAVE CHILDREN?
If you, like me, are in need of a Halloween detox, I got you.
These are hands down the most addictive lettuce wraps I’ve ever made. I didn’t even realize that was a thing… “addictive lettuce wraps.” It’s a bold claim, but one I stand behind. If you can marinate the steak the night before cooking, you’re golden.
Melissa Clark, genius recipe contributor for the NY Times and beyond, has made Korean food that is accessible to the every day cook. Her take on bulgogi may leave you scratching your head looking at the ingredient list, but fortunately for all of us, grocery stores in the States have greatly improved their range of in-house ethnic ingredients. Think you can stop after one? So did I. Instead I ended up eating three – three! — right after photographing them, hours before dinner! And then I ate two more when John came home.
Speaking for the Well Seasoned household, we’ll be making these again and again.
Korean-style stir-fried beef (bulgogi)
For the beef
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1 small onion, thickly sliced
- 1 1-inch-thick slice peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb beef sirloin, cut into ⅛-thick slices (see Note)
- 1 scallion (white and green parts), chopped
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
For the sauce
- ¼ cup doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste, also referred to as black bean paste)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
- 1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons gochujang (Korean red chile paste) to taste
- grated carrots
- sliced green or red fresh hot chiles such as serrano, jalapeño, or fresno
- fine herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro, and/or shiso leaves
- crisp romaine or Bibb lettuce
Prepare the beef
Combine the garlic, onion, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and black pepper in a blender or mini food processor, and blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
Place the beef in a bowl and spread the paste over the slices. Stir in the scallions and sesame seeds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
For the sauce
When you are ready to cook the beef, make the sauce. Combine the doenjang, sesame oil, garlic, scallion, honey, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Stir, and add the gochujang chile paste to taste.
Heat the largest skillet you have over high heat until it is smoking hot, about 5 minutes. Pour the beef and its juices into the skillet and stir-fry until the juices have evaporated and the meat is cooked through and browned in spots, 2 to 5 minutes.
Wrap meat, grated carrots, sliced chiles, and/or herbs to taste in lettuce leaves. Top with sauce as wanted. Beef can also be served on a platter with the garnishes and the sauce on the side.
Note that the beef should be marinated overnight! In a pinch, let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
From Melissa: It's easiest to slice the steak when it's semi-frozen. Chill the meat in the freezer for 30 minutes before slicing.
You can purchase Melissa’s phenomenal cookbook Dinner: Changing the Game “>here. It is worth every penny, promise.