Oh noes, it’s a cooking post. I promised you return to a somewhat normal blogging. Today I offer you two recipes of Korean origin. These shouldn’t be mistaken for original Korean cuisine. It’s more of American/Korean and Russian/Korean fusion, but they are yummy and cheap.
When pandemic started, I bought a bunch of chuck roast. It’s a tough cut of meat with lots of connective tissue and it’s usually cooked to death in a slow cooker or Instapot. It makes excellent pot roast, because of all of that lovely connective tissue, good stew, and decent shredded beef. It’s also cheap. Even now, witch crazy meat prices, it’s only $4 per pound.
So I bought a lot of it. Small problem – it’s summer and nobody wants to eat pot roast in 104 degree heat. Bulgogi to the rescue.
Bulgogi, which means “fire meat,” is a type of Korean barbecue. It’s thinly sliced meat that’s marinated and cooked in a hot pan or thrown on the grill. We are going to do an American inspired version of it.
First things first, start the rice cooker. 🙂
Now, we’re going to defrost the roast but not all the way. If you have a 2 pound roast, defrost it in the microwave for about 1 pound setting. If you are thawing in the refrigerator, it should still feel slightly hard when you poke it with your fingers.
Now we get a cutting board and a sharp knife, arm ourselves with patience, and slice the roast. You want to go across the grain so place the roast just like this and cut across.
You want to get as thin of a slice as you can and the meat being partially frozen helps with that. If you get some larger chunks, it’s fine too. Just aim for the thinner the better.
Now that the roast is sliced, we’re going to mix the marinade. There are a lot of versions of this marinade, some using Asian pear, etc. But we are going to aim for the cheap and simple version.
For most Asian fusion, you need 3 essential ingredients: soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil. You can fudge and substitute vinegar or sweetener, but I recommend getting these three and keeping them in stock. Most grocery stores carry them. Sometimes the recipe calls for a unique sauce or ingredient, like if you are making those little chicken skewers you find in Chinese buffets in the South, you’ll need oyster sauce or they won’t taste the same. But most of the time, these three will form the base of the marinade or sauce. I tried using other things instead of mirin, but it doesn’t turn out as well. I stick to Kikkoman brand, but your mileage may vary.
1/3 -1/2 cup of soy sauce, depending on the size of the roast
1/4 cup of mirin
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 Tbsp sugar (I keep Sweet Soy Sauce on hand, so I just splashed some in there, kind of randomly. Gordon likes the meat a little sweet.)
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp ground ginger (I used powdered and not that much, because I was aiming for Gordon’s preferences. You can put 1/2 if you like it spicier.)
A dash of black pepper
You are done. Mix everything together, pour over meat, mix, cover with something, and put into the fridge. It needs 30 minutes. You can let it marinade longer, but thirty minutes does it. I’ve had it marinade over night, and there is no difference in taste.
While the meat is marinading, we are going to jump the ocean, land in Russia, and steal this carrot recipe. The legend says that Koreans in Russian tried to make kimchi and came up with this instead. It’s an acquired taste, salty, spicy, but it’s cheap to make and I was home sick.
I’m going to send you to Marina for the recipe. She is right on the money. I didn’t take a pic of mine, because I forgot and then it got eaten too fast.
Basically you peel and shred about 6 largish carrots, add garlic, vinegar, cayenne, and other spices she mentions, and mix. If you want it spicier, add more pepper. Now comes the weird part. You’re going to warm some light tasting olive oil in the wok or whatever you are planning to use for the bulgogi. She says 1/2 cup, I used less. Bring your carrot mix over to the stove. When the oil looks about to smoke, use a large cooking spoon to scoop a little bit of oil and pour it over the carrots. Mix immediately. The oil should sizzle on contact.
Do this until the carrots seem coated. I would say I did three spoon-fulls and probably about 1/3 cup of oil. Set aside. It needs at least 15-20 minutes. This is a really good winter recipe, actually, but like I said, I was emotionally beat up after Kid 2’s sickness and wanted nostalgic food.
Now we’re going to fry bulgogi. You only want to throw at most 1/2 cup of meat in the pan at a time. Stir fry over high heat. Do not walk away, it will burn. A typical roast takes me about 5-6 sets. Mine looks like this.
Serve with rice and morkovcha. Traditionally, this is also sprinkled with green onion and sesame seeds. Some recipes call for adding onion to the marinade. I don’t because a) nobody likes it and b) onion burns quicker than the meat.
Well, I am off to work on Ryder. Happy cooking.