I had my first experiences with Korean food at a friend’s house as a kid in Rochester, New York. Home cooked meals, served family-style in the Hauser house, had a strong influence on my love of food. Recently, when I was craving Bulgogi, instead of looking up a generic recipe, I phoned Mr. Hauser and he passed along the following:
For the Beef:
2 pounds of sirloin steak sliced very thin across the bias
4 scallions, sliced
¼ c sugar
5 cloves garlic, chopped
5 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
2 T sherry, vermouth, or similar
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
a dash of hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
1 clove garlic, chopped
Fresh pea shoots
Cooked rice (Choose your favorite. We used a wild blend.)
Whole bib lettuce leaves
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. In this time the above ingredients transform into something much more wonderful than the individual parts.
After 24 hours, and when you are just about ready to eat, start cooking the rice. We use a rice cooker, which takes most of the guesswork and all of the burning out of the equation.
The beef can be grilled, broiled, baked, or sautéed. I cooked the beef in a blazing hot, cast iron skillet. Put the beef in the skillet and resist the temptation to move it around so that some carmelization can take place. Once the meat is cooked more than half way, about five minutes. Flip it and cook, unmoved for another minute or two. Let the beef remain juicy and not overcooked.
For the side dish, cook the mushrooms with a clove of chopped garlic and a splash of olive oil over high heat. When the mushrooms start to brown, add the pea shoots a bit of rice vinegar. Toss, and turn off the heat. The idea is that the some of the pea shoots wilt and the rest remain unaffected by the heat, keeping their crunch.
To serve an authentic Korean meal, put kimchi out on the table. Spicy fermented vegetables might take some getting used to if you have never tried it, but it is worth the time to get to know. Also try to get some Korean chili paste or Gochujang.
The spread should be all of the above in individual serving dishes. Bolgogi, rice, a bowl of bib lettuce leaves, kimchi, Korean chili paste, and the side dish of enoki and pea shoots.
Make a wrap, using a lettuce leaf, a tablespoon or so of rice, a piece of bulgogi, kimchi and chili paste. You will get a bit messy but it is entirely worth it so dig in and enjoy.
Serve the mushrooms and pea shoots on the side.
Stay tuned for the a Korean pork barbeque, another big hit from the Hauser house that with the Mr. Hauser’s blessing, we will experiment with before long.