Bulgogi Rice Bowl (Deopbap)
When I was growing up I didn’t quite care for Korean food. That isn’t to say I wasn’t exposed to it, I grew up in Los Angeles, it just was not my preferred food. It was not until my first trip to Korea (and second, and third, and fourth etc…) that I really started to fall in love with the cuisine. What I had originally assumed was a cuisine of smelly cabbage and overcooked meat (in Korea the service staff cook your KBBQ for you) was proven wrong on my first meal in Seoul. I had ordered what I assumed was going to be the least polarizing dish on the menu, Beef on Rice, and thus my love for the Bulgogi rice bowl began.
Bulgogi is just a quickly cooked marinated piece of meat, yet that description is really doing it quite the disservice. It is savory and sweet and tangy and spicy (if you use chili oil, optional) all at once and sits perfectly atop a bed of fluffy white rice.
Cooking ethnic food is a great way to impress people you make food for, but it is also a way to learn a lot about a culture. Why do they season a certain way, or use certain ingredients.
There are probably hundreds of different marinades that Korean families use, and this one, just like my Korean Fried Chicken was taught to me by the mother of a friend during my most recent trip this year to the Korean capital.
Bulgogi Rice Bowl Ingredients
500 grams Sirloin; thinly sliced. (You can buy pre-sliced at Asian food markets, or just do it yourself at home).
2 scallions; chopped
1/4 Yellow Onion; sliced
1 Small Carrot; sliced into strips using a vegetable peeler
3 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Rice Wine
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Garlic; minced
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
60 ml Water
1 Anchovy Fillet
Bulgogi Rice Bowl Instructions
1. As the meat needs to be marinated for an hour, start with that. I use a plastic bag as it is easy and saves time, but if you want to use a bowl that’s fine too. Combine the beef, scallion, onion, carrot, soy sauce, honey sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice wine and red pepper flakes (optional) and mix well. Seal and place in the fridge for an hour.
2. When there is about 10 minutes left to marinate the meat, take a saucepan on medium-low heat and crush the anchovy fillet with two forks until you make a paste. Whisk it with the water. It is okay if it is not homogeneous at this point. Turn the heat up high and reduce the water about 75%. Begin making the rice.
3. Remove the bulgogi from the fridge and pour the whole bag into your simmering pan. If your saucepan is small you can do it in multiple batches. Let cook, stirring often for about 1-2 minutes. You can remove the meat early and let the veggies cook for longer if you want them to be softer.
4. Divide into 4 portions and serve over 4 bowls of rice, liquid and all.
The meat can be marinated far before hand, even the day before. I just recommend the minimum time be an hour to allow the meat to tenderize in the sauce.If you make meat in large batches, you can cook this dish in less than 10 minutes whenever you want some delicious bulgogi deopbap.