I love bulgogi. It’s kinda sweet and kinda hot. You know, like me. (HAHAHAHAHA. Ahem.) I eat bulgogi a lot when the hubby and I go to his favorite sushi restaurant, because I don’t like sushi. And it looks pretty darn simple to make at home.
On to the battle. In the first corner, we have our prepacked creation:
We found it at the Asian market. It looked fun. And I have nothing against prepackaged foods, as long as they’re tasty and the ingredients are generally recognizable. This marinade includes 100% recognizable ingredients and no preservatives. You slice the steak and marinate it for an hour, then stir-fry or grill.
In the second corner, we have Korean-style beef bulgogi, courtesy of Cuisine at Home. The sauce is boiled until thick, and the beef is grilled and then tossed with the sauce after cooking.
We took one large steak and cut it in half, so we could get an accurate test of the two concoctions. We garnished each the same, as well, so appearances wouldn’t sway our opinions. Then we swallowed our potstickers, cleansed our palates with some milk, and dove in.
Let’s take another look at our contenders, Jim.
The marinated bulgogi was very tender, tasty, and the sweetness and soy really came through.
The bulgogi with the homemade sauce was chewier, but the sauce was fantastic – sweet, sour, and spicy. (It almost tasted like a General Tso’s sauce.)
The bulgogi with the homemade sauce was declared the winner, but it wasn’t a complete landslide. We decided to use the same sauce next time, but marinate the beef first. Because we really dig us some tender beef.
Korean-Style Beef Bulgogi
¾ lb. steak, cut in ¼” strips
½ c. soy sauce
Salt and pepper
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced or grated
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. sambal oelek
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1. Combine beef and soy sauce in a bowl and marinate, refrigerated, for 1 hour.
2. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper and grill until cooked to desired doneness.
3. In a small saucepan, heat sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and sambal oelek over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Combine water and cornstarch into a slurry and whisk into sauce mixture. Bring mixture back to a boil and cook 1 minute.
4. Remove sauce from heat. Combine steak strips with about half the sauce, and use the remainder for dipping.