Korean-style stir-fried beef (bulgogi)

  • Author: Melissa Clark
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x




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)

For serving

  • 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 

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