Wednesday, April 4, 2012

steak bulgogi

When I lived in London, I spent a lot of time down in the Piccadilly Circus area. The West End is over there, in all its theatre (oh yes, I went there) glory, and if you look hard enough there's always a student discount on a few shows every night. A few times, my friend and I would just meet there after class and see what was playing, and who had tickets available that night.

Living on the edge!

One night, as will typically happen when it's around dinner time, we were hungry. Sure there were plenty of popular tourist locations, but hello, we weren't tourists. We walked up one of the side streets, maybe even looking for something else (we may have been thinking Chinatown at first, which is right in that area), we found an amazing little gem of a restaurant that would become a favorite. The sign was pretty hard to see (we almost missed it when we tried to get there a second time), and the street was a quiet one, which could have meant one of two things:

a) it could have been horrendous and we would have ended up with food poisoning, or

2) it could have been a hidden treasure

I'm really thankful it ended up in the second situation!

Before this place, neither of us had ever had Korean BBQ, but we were instantly hooked. They have grills at each table (think Hibachi, but you don't have to share your table with five other families celebrating various birthdays and anniversaries, which I always thought was a little awkward no matter how awesome the flaming onion volcano was), and you order whatever meats you want. They may start it for you, but will leave all the utensils so you can cook things to your liking. If that's not awesome, then clearly you don't have your priorities straight.

My favorite meat is the beef bulgogi, thinly sliced pieces of marinated steak that are way more tender than a piece of meat that thin should be, totally succulent and ever so slightly sweet. Served with some sesame/chili chive slices, and I'm a happy girl.

This steak may not be the same cut, but the flavor's all there. I seriously had to stop myself from eating the entire thing as I sliced it, reminding myself that this in fact had to feed two people for at least one meal, if not two.


Beef Bulgogi (marinade from Can You Stay for Dinner?)

1lb steak, preferably flank (I used top round because it's what I had, and just sliced it in half so it was thinner)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup scallions (greens and whites), chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Whisk together marinade ingredients, place meat in a dish, and pour marinade over top. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better. We cooked one piece after 30 minutes and one piece the next day, and the second one had more flavor (and was more tender). To cook, grill or cook in a pan over medium heat to your liking. It shouldn't take more than 3-5 minutes per side. Make sure you don't move the meat around while it's cooking, so you get a nice sear! When it's ready to flip (at the earliest), it will come up from the cooking surface easily.

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