Korean marinated beef

Yes, I grew up eating lots and lots of this dish called bulgogi.  And yes I got sick of it, and when my family moved to the States, I wanted to eat what all the other cool kids were eating!  I wanted Lunchables, Fruit Roll-ups, Goldfish, and an infinitely fascinating collection of junk food that I wouldn’t even dream of putting into my mouth today.

I remember this one particular incident which happened during my fifth grade year.  I will never forget it.  Our class had a movie day where we got to bring our bean bag chairs (I thought to myself “what da heck is that?”) , and the parents were allowed to bring food and join their children.  I knew my dad couldn’t come, but I begged him to at least bring me lunch from somewhere.  He brought me food alright, except it was this noodle dish with bulgogi!  I looked around all the kids who were chomping on their Happy Meals, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and all the other “normal” foods.  I thought, “I can’t eat this smelly weird food in front of everyone!  They are going to make fun of me!”   So what did this spoiled, ungrateful, need-to-be-spanked girl do?  She shoved the food right back at her dad and told him to leave.  To this day the look on my dad’s face haunts me.  Ugh, if only I could get a chance to do it all over again…

Well, that girl has grown up quite a bit since then, and whether life throws her peaches or rotten eggs, she turns to her roots.  I will eat bulgogi anytime!

Bulgogi is as traditional and popular in Korean cooking as meatloaf is in American cooking.  It’s one of those heart warming comfort foods that is sure to take you to that other place!  You know what I am talking about.  That place we visit when we become one with the bowl that’s in our hands.

Sure, more and more businesses are jumping on the bulgogi bandwagon such as Costco who is selling it already pre-marinated.  I swear convenience really has taken over this world!  However, there’s no love and personal touch that goes into these kinds of preparation.  And of course the taste reflects that.  Not to mention the fact that it’s drowning in sodium, chemicals, and preservatives.  So my word of advice – when you find yourself reaching for one of those inferior imitations, just DON’T!  Instead try this recipe!  It may look intimidating and difficult, but trust me, you can do this!!  I will walk you through every step.


Serving size- 6 people |  Prep time- 30 minutes | Cook time- 30 minutes


-1 Ib. ribeye steak, sliced very thinly*

-1 medium onion, sliced thinly

-1 medium carrot, julienned

* The meat MUST be sliced very thin!  You can ask your butcher to slice it for you or do what I do.  I freeze the meat for about 2 hours, and this makes it a l lot easier for me to slice it thin.


-7 Tbs low sodium soy sauce

-3 Tbs brown sugar

-3 Tbs mirin*

– 3 Tbs chopped green onions

-1.5 Tbs minced garlic

-1 Tbs sesame oil

-1 Tsp pepper

-1 kiwi**

* Mirin is a sweet rice wine.  It’s used to flavor the food as well as to help the marinade cling to food.  If you don’t have mirin you can substitute  it with sweet marsala or dry sherry.  Be sure to add 1 Tbs of sugar to it though.

** Kiwi serves to tenderize the meat.  You can substitute it with 1/2 pear or apple, but I have found kiwi to work the best.


1)  Slice the onion and carrot.

2)  Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in the food processor and set it aside.

3)  Slice the meat.  Remember the thinner the better!

4)  Transfer all the ingredients into a large bowl

5)  Pour the marinade into the bowl and just love on the meat.

6)  Refrigerate the marinated meat for at least 4 hours.  I prefer overnight.

7)  Cook the meat on med-high heat.  No additional oil necessary!

8)  Serve over rice, noodles, lettuce, anything! The sky is the limit!!

Btw, can you tell the difference in the picture quality of the last picture as compared to the rest?!  I hope so because somebody got a new DSLR!!  Early Christmas present from the hubby =)  Although I will probably ask for something else when the holidays come around, but he doesn’t need to know that =).  Thanks Alisha for the recommendation!!  It’s definitely life changing!!  Looks like the beginning of a beautiful relationship for the camera and I =).

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9 Responses to Korean marinated beef

  1. Yoonie says:

    Only if we can turn back time and do it all over again… I’m sure appa doesn’t even remember this incident so don’t be too hard on yourself. Oh and since when does Costco sell marinated bulgogi? I’ve never seen it @@

    • HI sis! oh you haven’t seen it? yes yes, I saw it the other day. I tried the samples, and it was yuck. Too salty! oh and did you cringe when you saw the carrots? I know how much you LOVE them! hehe, Well, it was a great addition, and I think mom will be very proud of me =)

  2. Michelle says:

    How exciting that you got a new camera!! The last photo does look amazing 🙂 As does the recipe! I need to try it sometime. And I love the story that goes behind it!

  3. Yes you must try it and let me know it turns out! I am super duper excited about my new baby =) I feel a lil overwhelmed right now with all the different functions, buttons, etc, but I am going to try to figure this out one at a time. Wish me luck! =)

  4. myhealthyohana says:

    I love bulgogi! Bookmarking this recipe so we can make it this summer :). I had no idea about the kiwi, great tip!

  5. Min says:

    yay! I hope you like this one =) and yup kiwi really does the trick! It’s a must!!

  6. Lauren says:

    Yum! This looks so good Min! The kiwi part is so interesting! I’ll have to try it with pear though because I’m allergic to kiwi. :o( My husband loves high protein meals, so I will have to make this for him soon! I love that you’re posting about meals you grew up with. It gives me (and others, I’m sure) a real insight into who you are.

  7. Min says:

    hehe I read that your hubby is a carnivore =) Mine too! I am trying to teach him that not having meat at every dinners is not the end of the world. Will let you know how that goes =) he has been eating more qunioa, lentils, tofu, etc so that’s a progress!

  8. Luvy would love this!! I’m not to much on meat, but it does look interesting! Isn’t it amazing how many things we would go back and redo if we could?? However, kids will be kids. Yours will repay the favor one day. 😉

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