It’s no secret that I love Korean food. Proof: this Kimchi Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan, Bacon, and a Drippy Egg, these Kimchi Reubens, and these Korean Bibimbap Bowls with Cauliflower Rice. Even though I’m Korean, I didn’t grow up eating Korean food. Aside from the occasional meal at a Korean restaurant and lunches at the week-long Korean camp I attended in the summer, I was an American food a cheeseburger fan all the way.
But when I did eat Korean food, my dishes of choice were those that I deemed closest to the familiar-tasting Chinese food: sticky white rice (obviously) and bulgogi, a traditional Korean beef dish. The beef is thinly sliced and marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, minced garlic, ginger, green onion, and Asian pear. And then, it’s sautéed in a pan or grilled. The flavor is just unreal: Tender little pieces of beef with sweet and savory perfection infused into every bite. I recommend bulgogi to anyone trying Korean food for the first time. And by the way, I think the flavor in Bulgogi beats any Chinese beef dish times infinity.
Traditionally, bulgogi preparation entails cutting a whole beef roast into thin strips the night or morning before serving so the meat can soak in the marinade for hours. The prep work is so worth it, but sometimes you just don’t have the willpower or the time!
Quick and Easy Bulgogi (Korean Beef) recipe to the rescue! This version can be made in one pan in under 20 minutes with no slicing or marinating of meat required! The shortcut? I used ground meat! Ground turkey to be exact. Simply prepare the quick sauce. Then, chop some onions and add them to a pan with the ground meat. Add the sauce and cook the meat. Give everything a few stirs to incorporate all the flavors and then you’re done! This Quick and Easy Bulgogi is amazing on top of rice, in lettuce wraps, in sandwiches, or in my favorite Korean dish, bibimbap, which combines colorful veggies, bulgogi, and sticky rice. Whatever way you decide to eat it, this Quick and Easy Bulgogi will become your go-to weeknight dish!
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- ½ onion, sliced (or julienned)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 green onions, chopped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Whisk the garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, soy sauce, and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Once heated, add the onion and sprinkle with salt. Cook 4-5 minutes until softened.
- Add the ground meat to the pan. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat into small chunks.
- Add soy sauce mixture to the pan. Stir to incorporate.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the meat is cooked through.