Instead of cooking up large cuts of steak and eating like a carnivore as I did back in the States, my time in Korea has allowed me to enjoy a balance of flavors and ingredients. This includes a hefty dose of ubiquitous banchan dishes for BBQ night outs. First off, I can never get enough of banchan, especially the fresh namul vegetables, the colorful lettuce varieties, and thin slices of raw garlic that they serve endlessly upon request. Then you throw in the awesome BBQ (beef, pork, duck, intestines, you take your pick), ssamjang dipping sauce, spicy stew (usually in that order), and you have yourself a winning combination every time.
For my simple version of Korean BBQ at home, I used top quality, pre-cut rib-eye steak (aka kkotdeungshim 꽃등심), king oyster mushrooms, and Korean chives as a salad. When using steak that’s nicely marbled, do not overcook it and season modestly with salt or preferred spices. In this case, doing less is more to get your steak tasting just right. Although this recipe may look difficult, it’s probably the easiest and fastest dish one could make with minimal effort. And if you’re just not into cooking (or washing dishes after cooking), I recommend hitting up your local BBQ restaurant since the cost of eating BBQ is ridiculously cheap….that’s if you’re in Korea like me. ^^
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” ~George Bernard Shaw
1 bunch Korean chives (buchu or youngyang buchu), cut into 3-inch pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp gochugaru (red pepper flakes)
sesame seeds (garnish)
1) If the steak is not already pre-cut into smaller pieces, cut according to personal preference.
2) Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, cider vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil in a mixing bowl until sugar dissolves completely. Sample the sauce until desired taste is achieved. Add the Korean chives and mix into the sauce. Plate accordingly.
3) After cutting the oyster mushrooms, saute on a non-stick skillet until slightly browned or charred. Set aside.
4) Cook the meat on medium high heat using a non-stick skillet or frying pan. Cook until meat loses its pink color or until slightly browned, about 3~5 minutes. Using oil is optional but recommended for larger cuts of steak. FYI: Best not to overcook this cut of meat, otherwise you’re wasting a good cut of beef.
5) Plate items accordingly on a serving dish. Serve with rice and banchan (side dishes) including lettuce varieties for wrapping. Red leaf lettuce and perilla leaves are ideal.