This mouthwatering Korean BBQ Beef Bulgogi features thin slices of tender beef and shiitake mushrooms marinated in an irresistible blend of soy, garlic, ginger, pear juice and sesame oil for a quick and easy mid-week dinner.
Hey guys, annyeonghaseyo! Today we’re sharing a quick and easy Korean recipe that claimed our stomachs and our hearts while wandering through Seoul, South Korea.
Bulgogi is one of the most popular Korean dishes out there, apart from ever-popular kimchi of course.
I mean, what’s not to love?
- There’s those tender, paper-thin strips of beef marinated in a simple-yet-powerful blend of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and Korean pear juice (which acts a surprising natural sweetener AND tenderiser). So clever!
- There’s the sliced shiitake mushrooms that soak up all that incredible flavour too, bringing an extra bite of juicy chewiness.
- The name ‘Bulgogi’ literally means ‘fire meat’ in Korean… so cool! The dish is often cooked over an open charcoal flame adding a whole extra depth of flavour, but can just as easily be cooked on a normal stove – always a win.
- With Korean BBQ Beef Bulgogi you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up in delicious foodie heaven. (We even saw Bulgogi-flavoured hamburgers from McDonalds in South Korea – note to self, must experiment!)
So now you know you’re literally minutes away from Korea’s favourite BBQ Beef dish. What exactly do you need for your very own batch of Bulgogi deliciousness?
The key to awesome Korean Beef Bulgogi is starting with thin slices of marbled beef sirloin, tenderloin or skirt steak.
If you’re lucky you might find pre-sliced beef at your local butcher or Asian grocery. If not, you can always ask them to slice it for you, or slice it yourself at home.
Hint hint: it’s waaay easier to thinly slice meat when it’s partially frozen. ????
If you’d prefer a vegetarian version of this dish, just omit the beef and throw in extra shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or any of your other favourite mushroom varieties.
So What About That Bulgogi Marinade?
This dish has all the power players of Asian cuisine – soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil, a dash of black pepper.
But there’s one more magic ingredient you might not expect – pear juice – which acts as both a natural sweetener AND tenderiser. It’s the secret ingredient to Bulgogi’s deliciously soft and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
If you can’t get your hands on Korean pear juice you can easily substitute with apple juice, pureed kiwifruit, minced onion or even a splash of coca-cola (say whaaaat?). They’ll all have this magic effect when added to a tasty marinade.
Bulgogi – Korean BBQ Beef with Shiitake Mushroom
As with anything marinated, Korean Beef Bulgogi will taste way better the longer you let all those gorgeous flavours soak in. Marinating overnight will send your tastebuds on the ultimate ride, but a quick 10 minutes in the fridge will still deliver the tasty goods.
Kudos to those peeps out there with a charcoal grill – your Korean Beef Bulgogi will have even more flavour when cooking over the flames. But for those without, you can just as easily cook this in your favourite frypan or wok on the stove like we did.
For the ultimate Korean experience be sure to serve with steamed rice, lettuce, Korean soybean paste, plus extra garlic and onion. Jump right in and use that lettuce as a natural wrapper for a scoop or two of Bulgogi!
P.S. A very big thanks to the lovely ladies at F&C Korean Food & Culture Academy cooking class in Seoul for teaching us how to make their amazing Korean Bulgogi recipe!
- Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add in the thinly sliced beef, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, leek, onions and spring onions and mix well to evenly coat.
- Pop the marinated bulgogi in the fridge for a minimum of 10 minutes (or even better, overnight) to allow all those saucy flavour to soak in.
- Now heat the oil in a large frypan or wok. Separate the bulgogi into two batches and stir fry each for a few minutes until beef is cooked.
- Transfer your piping hot Bulgogi into serving bowls and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with rice and lettuce.
- If you’d prefer a vegetarian version of this dish, omit the beef and add in extra shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or any of your other favourite mushroom varieties.
- If you can’t get your hands on Korean pear juice you can substitute with apple juice, pureed kiwifruit, minced onion or even a splash of coca-cola (say whaaaat?). They’ll all have this magic effect when added to a tasty marinade.
- As with anything marinated, bulgogi will taste way better the longer you let all those gorgeous flavours soak in. Marinating overnight will send your tastebuds on the ultimate ride, but a quick 10 minutes in the fridge will still deliver the tasty goods.
- If you don't have a charcoal grill, you can just as easily cook this in your favourite frypan or wok on the stove like we did.