Full disclosure: I know real bulgogi is usually grilled. This version is not. If you saw the weather outside right now (gale-force winds and a pelting snow/rain mix), you would understand and forgive me. That said, this is a version anyone can make at any time, provided they have kimchi on hand. I’ve made this before without the kimchi, so I can say with some authority that it really makes the dish. I know it’s tempting to want to just cook the meat up plain and serve it over some rice, but it’s not going to knock your socks off without the spicy tang of kimchi for balance. You have been warned.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious. It makes about 10 wraps. Two to four of them is a pretty decent serving size.
• 1/4 cup soy sauce: 25 cents
• 2 T sugar: 5 cents
• 1 T sesame oil: 12 cents
• 1 T mirin: 15 cents
• 1/4 cup grated Asian pear or regular ripe pear (I used the latter because it was cheapest): 40 cents
• 2 shallots, minced: 5 cents
• 2 garlic cloves, minced: 2 cents
• 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger: 5 cents
• 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish: 20 cents
• 1/4 tsp black pepper: 1 cent
• 1 lb. thinly sliced beef sirloin (from a family-sized package I found on markdown and froze in individual 8-oz. portions): $2.99
• Lettuce leaves for wrapping: 75 cents
• 1 cup cooked short-grain rice (cooked however you usually cook rice): 20 cents
• Kimchi (click on link & scroll down): 10 cents
TOTAL: $5.34/10 = 53 cents each
Combine the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Add the beef and stir well to coat.
Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Heat a large skillet (preferably nonstick or cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Drain the beef from the marinade and add to the dry skillet if nonstick (otherwise, heat 2 T oil first). Working in 2 or 3 batches, sear the beef until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes.
To assemble, add a little bit of rice to either a butter lettuce cup or regular lettuce leaf with the hard bottom rib cut out. Top with some beef, then kimchi. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. To eat, wrap into a package.
If you have leftovers, they make a great bento-style lunch without the lettuce: