Bulgogi Ciabatta Sandwich
Bulgogi is “one” my favorite Korean dishes. It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite among many, but my love for grilled food is well known. Even when I am fullest I will still eat it, or at least taste it!
I get quite a few requests not only for bulgogi, but for other Korean dishes too. Since the last request was just a few days ago I thought to actually make one of a popular fusion kind of sandwiches that includes bulgogi.
Bulgogi is available in all Korean restaurants, however it is also very simple to make at home, too. Bulgogi in literal translation means “bul” fire and “gogi” meat, so it refers to “cooking the meat on fire” or “over open flames”, which is of course cooking technique or better said barbecue.
It has a long history! Originally bulgogi was known as “maekjeok”, with the beef being grilled on a skewer and “neobiani”, meaning “thinly spread” meat and was traditionally prepared especially for the wealthy and the nobility class.
Many of you know that bulgogi is eaten with leafy veggies, rice and/or other side dishes (banchan), but it also depends how you prefer to eat it. This was… This sandwich you wouldn’t believe how good it is! I am still drooling!
Beef is marinated for a couple of hours and it actually crosses between sweet and savory. Bulgogi is one of those non-spicy Korean traditional recipes. Once you start to pan fry it or grill it all the flavors that beef was soaking comes out, and the taste is spectacular. Beef becomes tender and so delicious.
My family goes nuts over it, and it is a “must make” when we grill!
Now I don’t have fancy grill, but we do have pretty big handmade or man-made fire pit, so I use my trusty old saute pan to make bulgogi in it. Yes, you can make this on your stovetop in the house, but man when the smoke from the charcoal fire surrounded that pan and beef started to sizzle, it sure was amazingly delicious, I think I can still smell it!If you want something lil’ different but still oh so good visit my friend Gomo and check her delicious take on *bulgogi sandwich.
1 Lb. Beef Tenderloin (rib-eye steak or top sirloin)
5 garlic cloves (5 smaller ones or 3 bigger cloves)
1/2 cup 7 up or 1/2 Asian Pear, peeled
1 Tbs. Sugar
3 Tbs. Soy Sauce Or to taste
2 Green Onions/scallions
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. Sesame Oil
Handful julienned Carrots*optional
- In a food processor place onion, ginger, garlic cloves, carrot, and 7 up or 1/2 Asian Pear (it is acting as a meat tenderizer), process until pureed.
- Take a beef tenderloin that is slightly frozen and cut into thin bite size slices or you can use already pre-cut meat that is thinly sliced. (read note)
- In a large bowl or container place meat, then add puree, sugar, soy sauce, sliced scallions, ground black pepper, sesame oil and handful of julienned carrots (optional). Mix everything together so marinade could code each slice of beef; cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour or more. *You can use less soy sauce and add salt to taste*
- Preheat the grill or slightly oiled/greased saute pan/skillet and add beef slices. Cook until meat is no longer pink and it starts to sizzle and juices are almost gone.
- 5 minutes before beef is done I like to add more garlic, scallions and onion slices, sometimes mushrooms too.
- You can serve it with rice and vegetables (side dishes) or place it in the toasted Ciabatta bread like I did today, add other sauteed/grilled vegetables, lettuce together with the beef and top it with cheese and other condiments if you desire.
- You can place beef to marinade in the fridge overnight. I like to do it at least an hour in advance, but the more is marinating, meat becomes more tender. I have done overnight before!
- I used Beef Tenderloin today, but The best beef for this is rib-eye steak, or top sirloin. Of course you may use any cut but you will know the difference if you make it with ribeye steak because fat is where a lot of the distinctive flavor of beef comes from, making ribeye one of the richest, beefiest cut available. You may also find it already precut beef in the Korean or Asian market “for bulgogi“.
- If you do not want to use 7 Up or Asian Pear then add 1-2 Tbs. (more) of Sugar. Both 7 up and Asian pear not only make beef tender but also gives sweetness, if you omit you have to add sugar or even honey if you desire.