Monday, September 14, 2009

Bulgogi a la Momo (the non-Korean beef barbeque)

This is one of those meals that evokes a rainbow of emotions within me, with the strongest pair being a sense of longing with a good dose of soothing contentment. My Momo would make this every now and then growing up, and a couple months ago when I made it myself for the first time, the pleasurable mixure of spices skipped around my brain, taking me back, and I wished Momo was there by my side to enjoy my success in mastering what will forever be HER dish.

Even though it's ridiculously easy to make, you can easily fool anyone you're cooking for that you really slaved in the kitchen pulling this one together--it's that good. I've found that referring to it as "Korean Barbeque Steak," as it is sometimes called, causes less upper-lip-raising (as in, "WHAT are you going to be serving??!?!"). Nevertheless, sometime the adverse reactions are funny and "Bowl-gog-E" is fun to say!

I like to serve this with my quinoa pilaf and fresh asparagus grilled (or broiled) in 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon miran (sweet rice vinegar), 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 clove garlic (or garlic salt), and a sprinkle of ginger.

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)


1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed (By this I think they mean trimmed of fat, but I've found that most of the times the steak is already trimmed. Sometimes there's a little bit that may be clinging on for dear life, but I tend to leave it on and trim after cooking because I'd rather not deal with the raw steak anymore than I have to.)

2 tablespoons brown sugar (I always use just one packet of splenda. Blame it on being a splenda fiend, or the fact that I never have brown sugar in my apartment... I find it goes hard too fast in my moist cupboards. Sad, I know.)

6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (I used powdered and it still turned out magnificently)

2 teaspoons sesame oil 6 garlic cloves, minced (I often use the jarred minced garlic. If you don't have this much garlic on hand, no worries! Your steak will be yum-yummy no matter what!)

3 fresh scallions, whites and green cut into about 1/4 inch slices (I've actually used dried chives when I realized I had totally blanked on picking up scallions at the store... even though they're technically not the same, it still turned out delicious!)

How To:

1. Combine sugar (or sugar substitute), and next 6 ingredients (sugar through scallions) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and shake up until well mixed. Drop in the steak (gently, now) and marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour, turning bag occasionally. I've found that longer marinatation times yield exponentially better, more flavorful steaks. So if you can, plan ahead. Easier said than done, right?

2. Once your steak has marinated to its (and your) heart's desire, prepare your grill (a.k.a. turn on that bad boy), or preheat broiler.

3. Carefully remove beef from bag, reserving the marinade. Place beef on hot grill or under a preheated broiler. Your cooking time will depend on the steak's thickness, so keep a careful eye on your beef. For a steak that was about 1/2 inch thick that I placed under the broiler (no need to flip it), I cooked it about 8 minutes. I think these are best cooked to medium or medium-well, and that timing made them perfect! If grilling, cook the steaks for about 4 minutes per side, again until desired level of doneness.

4. While the steak cooks, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and cook over medium to medium high heat, until it comes to a rolling, slow boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. I usually boil it for about 5 minutes to make sure anything and everything that isn't supposed to be in your food is killed off. (Notice how I'm sensoring myself so as not to gross you out!!)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 208 (33% from fat)
Fat: 7.6g (sat 2.7g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.7g)
Protein: 26.1g
Carbohydrate: 6.4g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 76mg
Iron: 3.1mg
Sodium: 457mg
Calcium: 19mg

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