For almost 20 years I lived in Los Angeles, which homes one of the largest Korean communities outside Korea.
LA’s Koreatown in large and lively with shops, spas and delicious restaurants. This is where I first started to know and love Korean food. In 2004 I went to Korea on vacation, to visit friends, and in my 2 weeks there I had a revelation about the true nature of Korean food. It was amazingly fresh, wholesome and refined in flavors and ingredients, far beyond what you could imagine from sampling a few restaurants. That experience has sparked a life long love affair with Korean food, and now that I live 500 miles from LA the only way to have some is to make it myself!
This Paleo Bulgogi is my version of one of the most popular Korean dishes. In truth, this recipe belongs mostly to my dear Korean friend Natalia, who stayed at my house and graced me with some of her wonderful cooking. I basically just made some tweaks to substitute unwanted ingredients with better ones without compromising the original flavors.
I think I came pretty close. This Paleo Bulgogi might not be true and original to the purest Korean Cuisine, but it does not contain any processed ingredients, corn syrup or white sugar.
- 1 pound of thinly sliced steak like sirloin
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- Mixed leaves of lettuce (you can use different heirlooms) for wrapping.
- ½ cup of coconut aminos (a Paleo approved substitute for soy sauce!)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ apple sliced and peeled
- ½ pear, sliced and peeled
- 1 tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tbs of coconut sugar
- 2 tbs of toasted sesame oil
- 1 white onion roughly chopped, or 2 green onions
- Dipping sauce:
- ¼ cup Korean hot pepper flakes (This is a good brand! +store them in the freezer!)
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped white onion
- ½ ripe pear, peeled and seeded
- ½ cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs sesame oil
- Mix all the marinade ingredients in a food processor, to create a smooth puree.
- Now add the marinade and the meat to a large bowl and mix well until the meat is evenly coated.
- Cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator overnight.
- The best way to cook bulgogi is on a charcoal barbecue, but a cast iron skillet will also do the job.
- Just make sure the skillet is hot enough so the meat quickly sears and do not "boil" in its own juices.
- The best way is to cook one small batch at the time.
- Dipping sauce:
- Put all ingredients in a food processor together and mix until a smooth sauce is formed.
- Serve accompanied with lettuce leaves and dipping sauce.
- Put a piece of meat on a leaf, add a bit of sauce and bite into it!