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Close up shot of the finished beef bulgogi.
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Korean BBQ Beef with Shiitake Mushroom - Bulgogi

For melt-in-your-mouth tender beef that cooks in minutes, look no further than beef bulgogi. Korean BBQ beef and shiitake mushrooms are marinated in an irresistible garlic soy combo.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Korean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 serves
Calories 330kcal
Cost $10

Ingredients

For the Marinade:

Instructions

For the Marinade:

  • Mix the water, soy sauce, pear juice, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add in the thinly sliced beef, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, leek, onions and spring onions and stir through to coat evenly in the marinade.
    300 g tenderloin steak, 4 shiitake mushrooms, 2 carrots, 1 leek, 2 onion, ½ cup water, 4 tbsp soy sauce, 4 tbsp pear juice, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp garlic, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 spring onion / green onion
  • Pop the marinated bulgogi in the fridge for a minimum of 10 minutes (or even better, overnight).

To Cook the Beef Bulgogi

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan, skillet or wok over high heat. Separate the bulgogi into two batches and stir fry each for a few minutes until beef is cooked through.
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Transfer the bulgogi into serving bowls and garnish with spring onion and sesame seeds. See notes for serving ideas.
    2 spring onion / green onion, 1 tbsp white sesame seeds

Notes

  • Beef – You can use any cut you like, but for the best texture and flavour aim for the highest quality you can afford. Try it with thin slices of marbled beef sirloin, tenderloin, skirt steak or scotch fillet/ribeye. 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. Of course, if you want to save time and make it easier, you can use supermarket stir fry steak. You could even swap for pork, lamb or chicken if you prefer.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms – Sliced shiitake mushrooms not only add a depth of umami flavour, they soak up all the incredible marinade flavours too, adding a juicy chewiness to the dish. We used fresh shiitake mushrooms from our nearby Asian grocer, but you can use dried shiitake mushrooms that have been soaked in boiling water for around 20 minutes.
  • Veggies – We use thinly sliced carrots, onion and leek, but you can use just about anything you have on hand. Spinach, bok choy, capsicum/bell pepper and bean sprouts would also make great additions.
  • Korean Soy Sauce - This is different to Chinese style soy sauce. Since it’s made from soybeans, salt and water (no wheat) it has an earthier, saltier flavour. The best substitute would be Japanese tamari, otherwise, just use whatever soy sauce you have on hand. 
  • Pear Juice - This is the secret ingredient to bulgogi’s deliciously soft and melt-in-your-mouth texture. The enzymes in pears help to tenderise the meat while adding a touch of sweetness. You can often find it at Asian groceries, or buy it online. Otherwise, substitute with grated fresh nashi pear, grated apple, apple juice, pureed kiwifruit, minced onion or even a splash of coca-cola. They’ll all have this magic effect when added to a tasty marinade.
  • Slicing the Meat - It’s so much easier to slice meat thinly when it’s partially frozen first. Wrap in clingfilm, lay on a baking tray and pop in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you’re ready to slice, remove the cling film and slice thinly across the grain. Aim for 2mm to 3mm (1/8 inch) slices. 
  • Use a Hot Pan - For the best flavour and caramelisation, cook on a super hot cast iron skillet. This will help to sear the meat and lock in the juices. Otherwise, a non stick wok or frying pan will work just fine. 
  • Marinate Overnight - While you can start cooking after the minimum 10 minutes, the flavours will be so much richer if you allow it to marinate overnight. 
  • Cook in Batches + Avoid Adding Excess Marinade to the Pan - This will prevent the meat from boiling in the pan, which would cause it to become chewy rather than tender.
  • Make a Vegetarian Version - Swap the beef for extra veggies such as bok choy or capsicum/bell pepper. Throw in extra shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, enoki mushrooms or any of your other favourite mushroom varieties.
  • Bulgogi Beef Bowls - Serve it on top of rice or noodles, with sliced tomato, cucumber, julienne carrot and soft or hard boiled egg on top. Garnish with sesame seeds, spring onion, fresh kimchi and shichimi chilli powder.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 1080mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5526IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg