Mom's bulgogi is more of an American-Korean hybrid, much sweeter than traditional bulgogi, and she serves it on a bed of white rice. Mom has us over once a month and this is what she always makes. It's my kids' very favorite food in the world. Getting the recipe on paper was a bit of a challenge. My mom had no idea what the measurements were or how to describe what she does, because, as she said, she just does it. But eventually, we figured it out, and I'm so glad we did because now I've captured the blueprint to what will always be a beloved meal for my kids.
Technique tip: My mom usually has the butcher slice the beef for this dish when she buys it. If you live near a Korean market, they often sell packages of sliced rib-eye or top sirloin; sometimes they're even marked specifically for bulgogi. If you buy big pieces to cut yourself, freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before cutting so that it's easier to slice thinly and cut against the grain.
Gochugaru, or Korean red pepper, is commonly used in kimchi. It adds precisely the right amount of heat and unique flavor to the cucumber salad. Authentic Korean brands are readily available at Asian grocery stores or online, and the McCormick spice company packages it as well.
For the cucumber kimchi salad:
In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, green onions, garlic, gochugaru, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and salt to taste and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the bulgogi:1.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, and pepper until well combined. Add the beef and coat it completely in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours.2.
Prepare a hot grill. If the pieces of beef are so small that they may fall through the grates, use a grilling skillet or place a sheet of foil on the grill.3.
Grill the beef on both sides until medium-well, 3-5 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Don't crowd the skillet or foil, so do this in batches if necessary. As you finish each batch, transfer it to a serving platter and continue with the remaining beef.4.
Serve the bulgogi on top of steamed rice. Garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds and spoon the cucumber kimchi salad alongside.5.
Store the leftover bulgogi and cucumber kimchi salad in separate covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reprinted from Magnolia Table Cookbook by Joanna Gaines. Published by William Morrow Cookbooks © 2018.
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