My first week of school was….draining. It’s always difficult to get back in the swing of things, especially after having been one with the bed (darn you, flu) for almost 2 weeks. When I’m feeling exhausted, I especially miss my mom’s Korean cooking. Whether it’s slurping up her famous kimchi cold buckwheat noodles, downing a bowl of beef and radish soup, or engaging in brutal chopstick war with my siblings to get a piece of steamed short ribs with potatoes and eggs, my mom’s home cooking has the power to instantly renew my spirit and take me to that happy place .
Stress + frigid weather (by Texas standards anyways) = time for comfort food. Since my mom’s not with me, it was time to take matters into my own hands. Bulgogi (sliced, marinated and grilled beef) is an iconic Korean dish that can be eaten in endless ways. It can be enjoyed over rice and kimchi (simple, yet amazing), in lettuce wraps…and as fusion cuisine has taken off, it can be included to make glorified sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, pasta, tacos…or in this case, stew!
This dish is so simple to make and is sure to warm you up from the inside out. So for those of you who are braving the cold, how about coming home and awakening your sense of umami with a hot bowl of bulgogi stew? Any takers?
- 1 Ib ribeye, sliced thin
- 50g Korean glass noodles (otherwise known as cellophane noodles or Chinese vermicelli)
- 1 bunch of enoki mushrooms (or whatever kind you have on hand)
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 1/2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 kiwi, pureed
- 1/2 Tbs garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs green onion, minced
- 1/2 Tbs sesame oil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Slice the beef very thin. I like to freeze the meat before slicing, as it makes it easier to slice. Also be sure to sharpen your knife before.
- Prepare the marinade and massage well into the beef. Refrigerate for at least 30 min.
- In the meanwhile, soak the noodles in hot water for about 30 min. Cut into shorter pieces with scissors.
- In a pot, preferably earthenware, add the marinated beef and water, and cook under med-high heat. When the meat is halfway cooked, add the noodles and the mushrooms. Turn off the heat when the beef is cooked all the way through and the noodles and mushrooms get well incorporated. *
- Serve. Top with red peppers for some extra heat if you wish.
* Be sure not to overcook as the liquid will evaporate.
You can easily find this in any Asian grocery store. These glass noodles are made from sweet potato starch and look transparent when cooked. They need to be soaked in hot water before cooking. Cut with scissors before adding to the stew.
You can substitute kiwi with pear or apple. Its addition really tenderizes the meat as well as enhances the flavor. Give the beef lots of lovin’ by massaging it well. Although I’d prefer to use a leaner cut of meat, it just isn’t the same. Bulgogi needs that extra marbling, if you know what I mean.
Once the beef is cooked halfway, add the noodles and mushrooms. Stir and incorporate.
A spoonful of this with rice and kimchi…..mmmm…..comfort at its finest. In Korea, you call this kind of dish “밥 도둑,” which literally means rice thief. Get it? It’s so good that you don’t even realize what’s happened to all your rice. When I first heard this phrase, I thought it was the cutest thing . Hope you give this recipe a try, and I challenge you to keep your rice from getting “stolen.”