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Fiery Beef

Fiery beef or traditionally known as Bulgogi or Bulgoki is an incomparable Korean dish that usually consists of marinated barbecued beef. Bulgogi literally means ‘fire meat’ in Korean which actually refers to the cooking technique, over an open flame, rather than the dish’s spiciness. The Bulgogi can also be made with chicken (dak bulgogi) or pork (dwaeji bulgogi) although the seasonings are different.

Traditionally Bulgogi is Korean marinated and grilled fiery beef barbecued which actually made from thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef. Before cooking, the meat is nicely marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, pepper and other ingredients such as scallions, onion or mushrooms to enhance its flavor and keep it tender and moist.

Using barbecued meat gives a prominent strong smoky flavor that is used to designate a flavor added to the dish. This dish is believed to have originated during the Goguryeo era (37 BC668 AD) when it was originally called Maekjeok, with the beef being grilled on a skewer. It was also called Neobiani, meaning ‘thinly spread’ meat, in the Joseon Dynasty and was traditionally prepared especially for the wealthy and the nobility class.

This dish is traditionally grilled but pan cooking is common as well. Whole cloves of garlic, sliced onions and chopped green pepper are often grilled or fried with the meat. It is sometimes served with a side of lettuce or other leafy vegetables which is used to wrap a sliced of cooked meat along with a dab of ssamjang, or other side dishes and eaten as a complete meal or snack.

Ssamjang is a thick spicy paste used with food wrapped in a leaf in Korean cuisine. This sauce is made of doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions and optionally brown sugar. This sauce is usually eaten with grilled meat. There are three dishes that are most popular and familiar in the Korean cuisine which includes the Kimchee, a fermented spicy cabbage fried rice.

The other two are the Korean barbecued beef recipe known as Bulgogi and Kalbi or Galbi. The primary difference between bulgogi and kalbi are the cuts of beef used as well as the cooking method. Traditionally short-ribs are used for preparing Kalbi and is cooked on a charcoal grill or broiled in the oven whereas for preparing the Bulgogi thinly (card stock thin) sliced, against the grain rib-eye steak prepared on a hibachi grill, broiled in the oven, or pan-fried. 

Both dishes use a similar or same type of marinade. Bulgogi is liked by all mainly for its sweet, tender and juicy flavors making it a deliciously enjoyable eating experience for everyone. Fiery beef (bulgogi) can be served as a main dish and taste exceptionally delicious with hot steaming rice or as a component in other Korean dishes such as japchae, lettuce wraps, banchan (an assortment of Korean side dishes), bibimbap, and kimbap.

To prepare this traditional Korean dish, firstly in a skillet, place one cup of sesame seed and a teaspoon of salt and brown seeds slowly until they are toasted, slightly browned and puffed. Stir constantly while toasting. Remove from heat and allow cooling.

Pulverize seeds in a mortar or a blender and store in a tightly capped bottle. Cut beef into very thin strips and pound to flatten, and then cut into medium size squares. Combine all the other ingredients. The marinade as the name of the dish implies should be quiet fiery.

Mix meat and marinade and set aside for 4 to 5 hours or longer if refrigerated. Broil very quickly over hot charcoal dip in Bulgogi sauce and serve immediately with white rice. Note: The marinated beef can also be fried in hot peanut oil for just a few minutes.

Apart from Bulgogi being delicious, it is also a nutritionally rich healthy food. With slight changes in the thickness and size of the meat pieces, Bulgogi can taste differently. Recently several fast food chains have introduced bulgogi burger and it is even used as a pizza topping.

Many people who are not familiar with Korean food are often fascinated by Bulgogi: all it takes is one try of this marinated meat and its taste will definitely please your pallet. Bulgogi is definitely the best Korean food loved by all Koreans and others alike. The Fiery beef is truly a most appetizing dish for those people who love eating beef dishes.

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