Friday, November 29, 2013

Bulgogi / Korean Grilled Beef

I haven't been cooking korean dishes lately, it's been exactly a year since I made my first kimchi. I wanna make kimchi this winter, but I am either busy, sick or plain lazy to get started. But yesterday, I decided to make a korean dish which has been on my to-do-list for quite some time. 

So I asked dear hubby to go to the butcher to get some thinly sliced beef. As usual, I wasn't quite sure what they call it in Dutch or Flemish, I only knew it had to be beef sirloin or a prime cut of beef, and furthermore it had to be sliced very thinly. It took me quite some time to explain to my hubby what I wanted. In the end, we concurred that "rosbief" would be the correct description of what I needed for making bulgogi or korean grilled beef. Hubby came back from the charcuterie section of the supermart (strange but he didn't visit the slagerij) with a packet of what seemed to be paper-thin sliced beef that was cooked around the edges, complaining that it cost him a BOMB! Well, 29 euro per kilo or 17,50 euro for 600 grams was really quite expensive, in my opinion. He said this type of thinly sliced rosbief is usually what people in Belgium buy to put between their bread, and it is known to be expensive. What? Isn't it raw in the middle? I wouldn't eat raw beef with my sandwich, or raw horse meat. There are people who eat raw horse meat with their bread in Belgium. For me, it is like yucks, no way!

Anyway, here is how it looks like. In case any of my belgian or dutch friends wanna cook korean bulgogi for dinner, you know what to get from the slagerij. It is called "rosbief".

This korean bulgogi or korean grilled beef was actually quite easy to prepare. You need to marinate the meat well in advance, preferably overnight, but I only did it for 6 hours. I baked my beef spread out evenly in a big flat non-stick pan, and it only took me 4 to 5 min on medium-high heat. Since the beef slices were paper-thin, you shouldn't cook them for too long, otherwise the meat would be too tough and not juicy and succulent. I would say this is a fuss-free dinner for busy working mothers, since you can marinate the meat the night before and it will only take you 5 min to grill in a pan after you come back from work.

It was really good, thanks to the recipe from Aeri's Kitchen. Luckily my expensive rosbief didn't go to waste! I find the beef juicy and succulent, I could taste a tinge of sweetness from the sugar and pear juice, I could also taste the zingy flavour of onions and spring onions and the fragrance of the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Initially I thought 6 tbsp of soya sauce was too much and I wanted to cut it down, luckily I didn't. It was just nice, not too salty. I am definitely gonna try this over and over again.

This dish goes well with steamed white rice, but you can also put it between a baguette with some sliced tomatoes and lettuce (check out this bulgogi sandwich recipe). We had the bulgogi with thai rice, and a mixed salad with cherry tomatoes, a typical east-meets-west fusion-style dinner.

Recipe adapted from my favourite korean blogger, Aeri's Kitchen. Her recipes are very precise in terms of measurement, and I have never gone wrong following her recipes.

Main Ingredients
500g of thinly sliced beef (beef sirloin or any premium cut of beef)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 small carrot, chopped into matchstick size

6 tbsp light soya sauce
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp pear juice (I used juice extracted from 1/2 a pear, it was a western type of pear and not an asian pear as stated in her recipe. You can use apple too)
3 tbsp chinese cooking wine or sherry (or water if you cannot take alcohol)
3 tbsp spring onions, chopped
1.5 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 pinch of ginger powder (you can use fresh finely chopped ginger)
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil

1. In a big bowl, mix the sliced beef, onions, carrots with the ingredients of the marinade and mix well. Marinate it preferably overnight, if not at least half a day. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and leave it to chill in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

2. Heat up a big non-stick pan to medium-high heat and drizzle 1-2 tbsp cooking oil, then add the marinated beef and spread it over a thin layer. Stir and toss the beef to make sure all sides are cooked well. Do not over-cook! It only took 4 to 5 min for my beef as they were sliced paper-thin. 

Note: I used 600g of sliced beef and the marinade did not seem to be enough, and I had to increase the marinade proportionately. So I think 500g of beef would be better for the amount of marinade stated above.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #37 - Korean: The Feast of Hansik (Nov 2013), hosted by Grace of Life Can Be Simple.


  1. It's good to hear that you are cooking korean dishes again after a while. Interestingly, for a price of the rosbief you've gotten over at your side of the world, it would be the cost of our smoked salmon. But it's definitely worth it after seeing your bulgogi. It looks very delicious :)

    1. Yes, I think smoked salmon over here is slightly cheaper in terms of cost per kilo. I wonder how much this cut of beef would cost in a wet market in Singapore, and would they slice it for you ?


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