Thursday, April 8, 2010

Korean-Style Fire Beef in Crisp Lettuce Cups

"Korean bul go gi is often translated as 'fire beef.'  This version serves the sizzling-hot beef in cool and refreshing iceberg lettuce cups.  The contrast, temperatures, and flavors is simply delightful..."  -David Kim

1 pound beef sirloin, sliced across the grain about 1/8 inch thick
1 T sugar
1 T sake

Place the beef slices in a large, shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle them with the sugar and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the sake.  Set aside at room temperature while preparing the marinade.

2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 T sake
1 T Asian sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 t peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped green onion, white and light green part only
2 t sesame seeds, toasted
1 T water
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 T vegetable oil

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon sake, the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, green onion, sesame seeds, water, and pepper. 

Whisk together and pour over the beef, making sure the beef is completely immersed in the marinade.  Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Core the heat of lettuce and then peel off whole leaves from it.  You will need 12 cup-shaped leaves.  Rinse the leaves well under cool water and drain upside down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a double thickness of paper towels.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Reserve the remaining lettuce for another use.

To cook the beef, remove it from the marinade.  Heat a well-seasoned, large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the beef, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, and saute, turning and moving the slices as they cook, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Fill the lettuce cups with the beef and eat out of hand.

Serves 4

My Review

This beef is so tender it melts in your mouth and so flavorful, it's well worth the overnight marinate.  I love this paired with the cool lettuce, but iceberg was a little difficult to work with.  Next time I will try bibb lettuce...  Serve with the remaining sake!


  1. This looks delicious! I am going to try the marinade on Flank Steak on the BBQ!

  2. I didn't know Nordstroms had cookbooks! I'll have to check it out =)

    The Korean Style fire beef looks tasty and versatile to serve. Thx for sharing!

  3. I love Korean style beef. This looks amazing. Must try this soon! Great post.

  4. These look great - I actually just made a marinade for Korean short ribs that I'll have tomorrow for dinner in lettuce leaves. Similar ingredients in the marinade so I'm curious is mine turn out as tender as yours. Yours have certainly whet my appetite tho!

  5. Bulgogi is one of my favourite things to order when I go out for Korean food. Who knew it was so easy to make at home?
    I love the idea of using lettuce cups instead of the traditional rice... sounds wonderful.