You can go all-in with the spice when making bulgogi or you can pull it back and make it mild. I went a little spicy with this Korean BBQ because sometimes we need our mouths to catch on fire, if only for a moment. The great thing about bulgogi is it has a sweet side as well that balances out the mouth-on-fire part. And Korean beef bulgogi over rice, to me, is perfection.
Korean Beef Bulgogi Can Be Mild Or Spicy - You Choose!
I love the idea of a grill in the middle of your table at a restaurant. It's so much fun to participate in the eating and dining experience. We don't have that too much in the U.S., so when I was in Korea it was an absolute blast! And beef bulgogi? Man, it has such incredible flavor. Also, it's not like you're slaving over a stove top cooking - the beef is sliced so thin it takes only a minute or two on each side until it's ready.
As a side note, I loved Korean beef bulgogi over rice when I lived there, but my absolute favorite food was dak galbi. It is a spicy chicken stir fry. And when I say spicy, I mean nuclear spicy. It took some time, but I began to love and crave really spicy food. Dak galbi is one of those dishes. In fact, the very first Korean phrase I learned (I don't know many, sorry), was how to say, "Mul juseyo." This translates to "water please." They provided tiny dixie cup-sized water at restaurants. I drank one after every bite. Therefore, I was constantly saying, "Mul juseyo, mul juseyo, mul juseyo." I especially said this when I was eating dak galbi. The server would reappear with the pitcher of water and finally, I would beg for them to just leave the water pitcher on the table. They always laughed and left the pitcher. Korean food is awesome and I highly recommend you give it a try. One of my other favorites was dolsot bibimbop - this is very common if you go to a Korean restaurant. So incredible!
Beef Bulgogi is Simple to Prepare and Versatile
Korean beef bulgogi takes very little time to throw together and you can serve it over rice, on top of a salad, rolled up in lettuce leaves or in my Korean Bulgogi Sandwich with Spicy Cucumbers & Cheddar. There are a lot of common ingredients included in this recipe and you probably already have at least half on hand. You may need to buy the sambal and gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), but you will use them again, trust me. In fact, sambal is now fairly common at most grocery stores. The marinade is easy to make and packed with flavor.
The recipe for my spicy Korean cucumbers is in the bulgogi sandwich recipe and would also make a great side dish for bulgogi over rice. That was one of my favorite surprises about living in South Korea. The side dishes. Whenever you ate at a restaurant, a huge variety of side dishes accompanied your entree.
WHERE CAN I FIND THIN-SLICED RIBEYE OR AN ALTERNATIVE?
When it comes to buying the meat for bulgogi, thin sliced ribeye is my favorite. Sirloin steak works well too. I'm really lucky that I live near a Korean supermarket chain. When I make bulgogi, I buy my beef there. They are ready. They have a whole section just for people making bulgogi. It's the most beautiful, thin, perfectly sliced ribeye you've ever seen. You'll see it in my video.
However, I realize not everyone has an awesome Korean market nearby. Another factor is cost - ribeye can get very expensive. Solution? You can easily use sirloin which is much more affordable and will taste just as delicious! In fact, when Petite N.Y. Sirloin goes on sale for either $4.99 or $5.99 per pound - I always stock up. This is a great, less expensive alternative to ribeye. It's the same steak I used for my Steak Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Bleu Cheese if you want to take a look at that.
Finally, the best way to get those really thin slices? First, ask the butcher at your local grocery store to slice it thin for you - no more than ¼" in thickness and thinner is better. Second, at home, freeze the whole steak for an hour or so, then use your sharpest knife to slice the steak as thin as possible. When it's slightly (barely) frozen it's easier to slice.
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