Mixed Korean Grill with Two Marinades: Bulgoki

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 40 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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1 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 cup mirin* (See Cook's Note)

1 cup sake

1 cup water

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 Asian pear, chopped (substitute a regular pear or an apple)

1 (1-inch) piece ginger, sliced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 pound beef tenderloin, sliced thin

1 pound large shrimp, cleaned, peeled, and butterflied

2 tablespoons hot chili paste (recommended: Srirachi Hot Chili Paste)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

3 scallions, sliced thin

1 1/2 pounds beef short ribs

8 baby lamb chops

To serve:

Mixed lettuce leaves

1 bunch fresh mint

1 bunch fresh shiso or basil

2 to 3 fresh red hot peppers

Soy Sauce

Hot sauce or hot chili paste

Quick Spicy Kimchee, recipe follows

Sweet Pickled Daikon, recipe follows

Cool Sesame Cucumbers, recipe follows

Quick Spicy Kimchee

1 head Napa cabbage, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons hot chili paste (recommended: Srirachi Hot Chili Paste)

1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 scallions, finely sliced

Sweet Pickled Daikon

1 cup rice vinegar

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 pound daikon radish

1/4 cup kosher salt

Cool Sesame Cucumbers

2 regular or English cucumbers

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves only

Kosher salt


  1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add soy sauce, mirin, sake, water, brown sugar, pear, ginger, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree in a blender and allow to cool. Place the sliced tenderloin and the butterflied shrimp in separate shallow dishes. Pour the puree over them, cover, and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. 
  2. Combine the chili paste, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and scallions. Place the short ribs meat side down on a cutting board. With a sharp knife slice between the bone and the meat but do not cut all the way through. Open like a book and carefully run the knife in the opposite direction to cut the meat in half, again not going all the way through. You should now have a long flat piece of meat, about the thickness of the bone. You can grill the short ribs in large pieces or cut the meat into smaller bite-sized pieces. Place the short ribs and lamb chops in separate shallow dishes and toss with the spicy marinade. Cover and marinate for 20 minutes. 
  3. Heat the grill, a grill pan, a cast iron skillet, or an electric tabletop grill. Grill the meats and shrimp until they are cooked to your liking. Serve as you cook them accompanied by a platter of mixed lettuce leaves, mint leaves, shiso or basil leaves, and sliced hot peppers, as well as small bowls of soy sauce and hot sauce. Also serve the Quick Spicy Kimchee, Sweet Pickled Daikon, and Cool Sesame Cucumbers in their own dishes. 
  4. Take a lettuce leaf in your hand. Put 1 or 2 pieces of meat or shrimp and top this with any combination of the condiments. Wrap the lettuce around the meat and eat out of hand.

Quick Spicy Kimchee

Yield: 1 quart
  1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut cabbage in quarters and remove the tough inner core. Slice across sections into 1/2-inch slices. Put into a colander, add salt, and mix well. Place over a bowl and let drain, covered, until wilted, about 2 hours. 
  2. In a large bowl combine the vinegar and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the chili paste, ginger, garlic, and scallions and stir. Rinse the salt off the cabbage with a couple of changes of water. Dry well and add to the vinegar mixture; stir well to combine. Put into a sterilized glass jar and pack the cabbage down; add enough water to cover. Close the jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. This is spicy and gets spicier the longer it sits - add or subtract chili paste to your taste. 

Sweet Pickled Daikon

Yield: 1 quart
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat add the vinegar, water, sugar, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, peel the daikon radish and slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. (If your daikon is very large, slice the rounds into semicircles.) Place in a colander with salt and mix well. Place the colander over a bowl and let drain for 1 hour. Rinse the salt off with a couple of changes of water and dry the daikon well. Put into a sterilized glass jar. Pour the cooled brine through a coffee filter (or a cheesecloth lined strainer) into the jar to cover the radish slices. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Will keep for about 2 weeks. 

Cool Sesame Cucumbers

Yield: 8 side servings
  1. Slice the cucumber into thin rounds. Put them into a bowl and toss them with the soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, mint leaves and salt, to taste. 

Cook’s Note

Japanese cooking wine, can be found in Asian and gourmet shops

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