Kimchi Bulgogi Rice Bowl
Kimchi seems to be ubiquitous in the culinary world these days. Celebrity chefs are enamored with it. Small local markets and even the behemoth Whole Foods is carrying it. Suburbanites and hipsters alike are experimenting with it. And of course, food bloggers cook and write about it. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, many people pinched their nose when in close proximity to kimchi. I think this is just a small part of a larger trend. I see more and more people embracing new experiences and accepting different types of cultures and lifestyles.
You won’t find anyone happier about this trend than me. For one, I don’t argue about politics and social issues as much, which makes for a quieter dinner party. But more importantly – because my stomach trumps all – this means I can find kimchi anywhere. Kimchi is a staple in my diet. I eat it all the time and would serve it for any occasion. Well, unless you are on a date with someone you want to get busy with. Then, I would say skip it. For all other occasions, it’s all good.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the health benefits associated with kimchi by now. Kimchi, in most cases, is fermented. Through the process of fermentation, probiotics are formed. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that go to work in your gut to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. They may also help lower cholesterol, improve your immune system, and treat eczema. These are just among other host of benefits. Eat kimchi raw, as is, if you want to keep the probiotics intact. But you can also sauté it, braise it, boil it, grill it, or roast it. Regardless of how you choose to prepare it, it will be delicious.
For this dish, I sautéed cabbage kimchi. Cooked kimchi tastes vastly different from its raw counterpart. If you haven’t tried cooking with it, try sautéing it. It is the easiest and quickest preparation, other than eating it raw. You can also mix the sautéed kimchi with the bulgogi (image below). It’s SO good.
BTW, sorry I haven’t been posting much lately. I just have a lot on my plate right now – residual effects from the stuff I alluded to in my last post. I will be back on schedule soon.
1 lb tenderloin or rib eye
1/4 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 TB sesame oil
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 large onion, sliced thinly
1/4 Asian pear, grated (totally optional)
2-3 TB agave nectar or honey
1 TB mirin
1/4 tsp black pepper
For Sautéd Kimchi
1 cup napa kimchi, sliced thinly
1 tsp gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)*
1-2 tsp brown sugar or agave nectar
canola oil for cooking
4 cups steamed (brown) rice
- Stir together tamari, sesame oil, minced garlic, agave nectar (or honey), mirin, and pepper.
- Place thinly-sliced beef, sliced onions, grated pear (if using) into a large mixing bowl or a large Ziploc bag for easy cleanup. Add prepared marinade from step 1 to the beef. Mix well. You can use your hands to massage the meat to ensure that the marinade is absorbed by the meat. Cover tightly. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. It can be marinated overnight.
- Heat a pan or a skillet on medium-high heat. Add canola oil to coat the pan/skillet. Remove the beef from the marinade and sauté until nicely browned. Don’t overcrowd the pan/skillet. Overcrowding will result in lowering of the temperature of the cooking surface; this will result in boiling or steaming of the meat. On moderately-high heat, the meat should cook very quickly – within minutes. Remove from pan. Tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Add a drizzle of oil to the same pan with the bulgogi bits still stuck to the pan. Lower the heat to medium. Add the sliced kimchi. Sauté until the kimchi starts to look translucent. Add brown sugar or agave nectar and gochujang. Stir well until the gochujang is well mixed into the kimchi. Remove from heat. (If you’d like to mix the kimchi and bulgogi together, you can add the cooked beef back into the pan at this point. Stir until just heated.)
- Divide the steamed rice, bulgogi, and sautéed kimchi among four bowls. Garnish with chopped scallions and/or toasted sesame seeds if desired. Serve while still warm.
The beef should be sliced VERY thinly. It’s much easier to do so when the meat is partially frozen.
Bulgogi cooks very quickly due to the thinness of the meat. Don’t overcook it. You don’t want dried out meat, especially for this type of dish. You want it just cooked, super soft and moist, with some bulgogi broth left in the pan.
Skip the gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste) for a gluten-free option.