I never knew much about Korean food until our time in Thailand where Korean food is synonymous with “meat” (this stands out because most Thai food has surprisingly small quantities of meat). Unfortunately I didn’t eat much meat back then, so it never appealed to me. But since then I have been shown the light. And the beef 😉
One of my great friends here is from Korea and her mom brought over with her the secrets to the most amazing sliced beef I have ever tasted. It is so tender and so flavorful I have to stop myself from eating the whole pan. A while back she gave us a cooking lesson and shared some of her secrets. What fun we had trying to keep up with and learning from the master chef.
I have since tried my best to recreate the flavors. So far I haven’t perfected it, but I’m getting there. I’ll share with you some of her tips and give you the chance too.
Start with a good piece of meat. Kum recommends prime rib, but other cuts will work fine too. Then, cut the beef impossibly thin. You will need a very sharp knife and nimble fingers.
KUM’s TIP: Put the piece of meat in the freezer for a few hours to make it hard and easier to slice. Be sure to slice against the grain!
I have never seen anyone chop like this woman can! Wait until you see what she can do with carrots!
Next, you need a good sauce. She uses a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, onion, honey and black pepper.
KUM’s TIP: Some grated kiwi or pear will help tenderize the meat, but if left for too long it will pulverize it, so watch out!
Let the meat sit in the marinade for just around 30 minutes.
Here is the process of getting the meat ready (notice how thin the slices)
KUM’s TIP: Rest the knife on your knuckles as you chop, curling your fingertips under so that you can cut quickly without loosing any fingers.
KUM’s TIP: Start by doing just one or two pieces so you can taste it and make sure the sauce is just right.
Then, add in the garnish. This meat is great on its own or served with rice (even cauliflower rice). Sprinkle on some sesame seeds for a bit more pizzaz!
Kum’s Korean Beef
Recipe for 2 lbs of beef
- 1 pear (or 1/2 kiwi)
- ¼ medium onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 small piece of ginger (kidney bean size)
- 2 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 green onions
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ medium onion
- Sesame seeds (optional)
1. Place meat in freezer for a few hours until partially frozen. Remove half at a time and slice against the grain into paper thin pieces, like bacon.
2. Use a blender to puree pear (or kiwi), onion, garlic, ginger and water. Then mix together in a small bowl with remaining marinade ingredients.
3. Stir sauce into meat until well covered. Let marinate for about 30 minutes and not much longer or the kiwi/pear will continue to break down the meat.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook meat in small batches so that the pan is not overcrowded. Stir it around the pan until done on all sides, it should only take around 5 minutes per batch then set it aside and do the next batch.
5. After meat is done, cook garnish ingredients until tender. Put all the meat back in the pan and stir together.
5. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve hot with steamed rice or cauliflower rice.