25 October 2010

Fire Meat aka Bulgogi

~ Menu ~

Faux Bulgogi
Stir Fried Rice
Alcohol-free Fizzy Water

We woke to a thick frost this morning and went outside to play in the crunchy grass, leaving footprints. The sky was blue and stripy and our car looked prettier than it ever has before, especially the windows.

We are supposed to have rain coming in tonight, all of us, so perhaps that will be the end of this very acceptable stretch of excellent weather we have been having.

In this cooler climate a hot lunch was appealing so I made me a faux bulgogi with a small piece of steak leftover from preparing my man's dinner last night; a trimming, you understand.

Bulgogi (bul means fire and gogi means meat) is an Absolutely Delicious spicy, sweet, hot Korean dish comprising strips of steak marinated in a soy, garlic, spring onion, sesame goo and then seared in a hot pan.

About 10 years ago a huge friend of mine, Clarky (he’s 6’6”), and I ran the food and bar side of the Royal B.V.I. Yacht Club. I used to do a very varied menu so that hopefully the members didn’t get bored and were tempted to dine frequently. 

One day I had some steak trimmings and decided to go for the old bulgogi ploy. This was a private members club where we knew almost every customer so it was quite a surprise when a real bone fide Korean chap came in to lunch, a guest of one of our regulars. He ordered my bulgogi and I was nervous fearing that I may have taken quite a liberty with his country’s cuisine but, if the gentleman is to be believed, it was spot on. He did come back in the evening for a second serving so presumably, even if it was spot off, he enjoyed it.

Bulgogi ...

... as I made it then

500g steak – sirloin or something else good
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
3 spring onions – thinly sliced, diagonally is prettiest
2 crushed cloves of garlic
generous grind of black pepper
a little finely chopped hot red chili - optional but I like it

~  Thinly slice the steak across the grain.
~  Mix together all the other ingredients and marinate the beef several hours or overnight (and day).
~  Grill or pan sea the steak over high heat till brown and cooked to your liking – it doesn’t take long.

Bulgogi is often eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves together with rice and kimchi (pickled cabbage) but I prefer it with stir fried rice.

Easy Bulgogi

My “bulgogi” today was inauthentic; I made it by mixing together soy, sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil and some ginger syrup left over from making ice creams for my forthcoming (fingers crossed) book. I didn’t add sugar because of the already sweet ingredients.

I always keep a few bags of cooked rice in the freezer for emergency stir fries and I used up some bits and pieces of vegetable matter laying around – sadly no red or yellow pepper to bring a bright and happy colour to the dish but for which I apologise.
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