Korean Beef and Kimchi Tacos

Korean Beef and Kimchi Tacos | cHowDivine.com

I just got back from Cali last weekend. And like a true dodo head, I left my camera there. I hadn’t been feeling all that well for the duration of the trip. I guess it took a toll on my brain in addition to my body. Luckily, I have a loving mom, who immediately shipped the camera to me along with a care package. I will have to post the pics of the package at a later time. But here is a post of the first batch of the photos I uploaded from my just-received camera: Korean-Style Beef Tacos.

It’s apropos since I made a variation of these tacos for my mom while I was in Cali. I think it was one of her favorite dishes that I made while in Cali, if not THE favorite. This is made with bulgogi (and I have posted a version of this in the past), but you can also make it with leftover Galbi-jjim (Korean braised short ribs). So so delicious either way.

As with most recipes on this site, you can personalize it to your liking or food sensitivities. I made mine completely dairy-free, but had shredded cheese and sour cream on hand for those who wanted those toppings. Additionally, I served some regular (gochujang-free) sour cream for those who wanted the dish gluten-free.

This dish is so easy to make. Don’t let the ingredients intimidate you. Even my mom was so surprised by the simplicity in the preparation of this dish. You should really give this a try.

Beef and Kimchi Tacos | cHowDivine.com

Korean-Style Beef Tacos | cHowDivine.com

Beef and Kimchi Tacos Recipe
Makes about 12 soft tacos
1 lb beef rib eye or tenderloin, very thinly sliced
1/4 cups tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 TB sesame oil
1/4 small onion thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 TB sugar or agave nectar
1 TB mirin
1/4+ tsp black pepper
1/8 Asian pear, grated (totally optional)
canola oil for cooking
cabbage kimchi, thinly sliced
romaine lettuce, thinly chopped
12 corn tortillas + more if you want to double up on the tortillas

Optional toppings
pico de gallo
monterey jack or dairy-free cheese by Daiya, shredded*
gochujang sour cream (1/4 cup sour cream + 1 TB gochujang)
sliced avocados or guacamole

  1. Place the beef in the freezer for about an hour or until it is partially frozen. Once it is partially frozen, slice the beef as thinly as possible against the grain. Place the sliced beef in a large bowl or a ziploc for easy cleanup.
  2. Stir together in soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, agave (or sugar), mirin, pepper, and grated pear if using. Mix well. Add the mixture to the sliced beef. Mix well while using your hands to massage the meat. Add sliced onion to the meat. Mix. Cover tightly. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight in the refrigerator. (I usually marinate mine overnight in the refrigerator.)
  3. Place a pan over medium-high heat. Dip the corn tortilla in water and place it on the hot pan. Once it becomes “spotty” (about 30 seconds), flip the tortilla. Repeat the process for all tortillas – stacking the warmed tortillas one on top of the other. Wrap the tortillas in a towel and let them steam for a few minutes.*
  4. Heat a grill pan or a skillet on moderately-high heat. Add canola oil to coat the pan/skillet. Add marinated beef to the pan/skillet and stir until cooked through. Don’t overcrowd the pan/skillet. Do it in batches if necessary. 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, it should take about 3 minutes for the beef to cook through.
  5. Serve the bulgogi in the warmed corn tortillas with kimchi, shredded lettuce, and any other topping of your choice.

Cook’s Note*:

I learned this method of heating corn tortillas from Serious Eats. It’s a bit more time-consuming then other methods, but it’s really worth it. If you don’t have the time or the energy, you can always heat them in a damp towel in the microwave!

Gochujang usually has gluten in it. OMIT it, if you want your tacos to be gluten-free. Additionally read the labels of all ingredients carefully as manufacturers’ practices vary.


21. June 2013 by gomo
Categories: Beef, Cheese & Dairy, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Kimchi, Korean Food, Mexican (Fusion) | Tags: , | 25 comments

Comments (25)

  1. Oh my Ms’ Chow – this looks very very yummy! I’ll see if my ladies are up for this.

    • Thanks Bill! My mom was surprise by how much she loved this. I think they will love it too once they give it a try. Hope you have a great weekend! 😀

  2. Love the idea of a korean-ified taco! Kimchi is basically my weakness 🙂

  3. What a wonderful fusion idea! Some cuisines seem to be made to mix and I think that Mexican tacos and Korean beef and seasonings sound like perfect company. They would be perfect for tonight’s calm wine evening at home… Too late to go shopping though.

    • I love the combination of Korean and Mexican! It’s probably my favorite combination. The flavors go so well together. Calm evening at home with some tacos and sangrias sound wonderful. I may have to do just that this weekend! Hope you have a fun weekend planned. Thanks Sissi! 🙂

  4. I am glad that your mom took care of you, while you were there…busy life can bring much stress, but It’s good to have you back to blogging.
    Your tacos, you know my thoughts already! If it includes gochujang, kimchi and bulgogi I am all over it–maybe adding crunchy grilled pork belly..ok maybe I am going now lil’ too far with calories but my mouth is watering at this point 😀
    I’ve never tried mixing sour cream & gochujang, though–sounds so good! This reminds me of Korean fusion food truck, gonna try it over the weekend! Have a lovely Friday!

    • It was so great having my mom close by. I didn’t realize how nice it was until I moved away. But yes, it’s also nice to be back home and getting back into things. I’m the same way with kimchi and gochujang. I think my body actually craves it if I don’t have it for a few days! You should try mixing gochujang with sour cream or just eating kimchi with some sour cream. I think it’s the heat from the gochujang and the cooling effect of the sour cream that just complement each other so well. Or it just may be me! 😀 Thanks Sandra! Have a great weekend!

  5. Hi gomo! Are you an OG socali gal btw? I swear, I think almost every Korean has made their own Korean tacos before the food truck (aka Kogi) revolution. Other than having become overrated and overly commercialized, Korean fusion tacos is nothing new to us Koreans, right? lol..been making them at home for years.

    I remember when I was a kid, my mom put Kimchi in tacos. And I thought it was the weirdest thing. But it didn’t taste bad. But I didn’t have that combo again until years later when the food truck revolution started happening.

    • I wouldn’t call myself OG, but I’m originally from socal. 😀

      I tell my husband that very thing all the time, that I’ve been making Korean-Mexican fusion since I started cooking! There is just natural harmony there. The food truck craze has popularized it, but by no means, did they originate it. But as my hubs always says, “hey, first to market usually wins!” 😛 Hope you’re well Miss Kim. Have fun over the weekend!

      • I tried it yesterday and it was match made in heaven…Although instead of the corn tortillas I used thin Pita bread and Lettuce leafs, either way it was yummy. Thank for the recipe…Happy Sunday!

        • Pita bread sounds good to me! It doesn’t matter what you wrap it in as long as it holds all the yumminess together. 🙂 I’m so glad you like it. Thanks for letting me know. Happy Sunday to you too Sandra!

  6. Homemade Korean style tacos like this are always so good!

  7. Welcome back! Great looking tacos – tons of flavor, and as you say, quite easy to make. I’ve read about that method of heating tortillas, and really need to try it some day. Being lazy, I usually use the microwave method. 😉 Anyway, good stuff – thanks so much.

    • Thanks John! I’m still trying to get back into the groove of things. I must admit it’s been a little difficult after a few weeks of complete laziness. These do have a ton of flavor. And I totally get you; I often just throw the tortillas in the oven too. Hope you had a great weekend!

  8. I love, love, love these tacos! Brilliant idea to use Kimchi! I’ve got to try these. Glad that you had a nice visit with your mom even though she was bringing you back to health during the visit. Understandable that you forgot your camera. Glad you’re home and hope you’re feeling better!

    • Thank you MJ! It was a wonderful trip despite my ailment. I’m glad to be back and getting back in the swing of things again. And I really hope you try these. There’s little wonder why Korean tacos became so popular. These are so good! Hope you are having a great start to the week!

  9. Glad to hear that you are back home safely. I love the Mexican & Korean fusion dishes! Should try your recipe soon. 🙂

  10. My mouth is watering! it looks awesome!

  11. Hi, what sauce did you put on top of salad on the taco?

    • Hi Melanie~ I usually use pico de gallo (fresh salsa) I buy from our local grocer, but you can make your own. And the tacos in the photos also have some gochujang sour cream (1/4 cup sour cream + 1 TB gochujang) and melted cheese on it. I hope that helps!

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