Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Bulgogi, World Cup Food Challenge 2014: South Korea

I was very kindly invited to take part in the World Cup Food Challenge 2014 where a group of bloggers are cooking and posting recipes from all of the countries playing in the greatest tournament on earth!  I was lucky enough (not lucky!) to get the teams from group G.  Yes that's right...Algeria, South Korea, Belgium and Russia!  I knew as soon as I read the draw that I was in trouble!  I know nothing about the cuisine of any of those countries but in a way that's the beauty of this challenge; learning about and cooking food from places you would never have gotten around to trying.

I've recently bought a small barbecue for my even smaller back yard so I can get some practice in for our summer holiday in France where those skills will be needed on a daily basis!  So when I was researching the cuisine of South Korea this recipe jumped out at me immediately.

Bulgogi translates as 'fire meat'!  Has there ever been a better phrase?!  As soon as I discovered the translation I knew it was the first dish I was going to choose for the challenge.  Finding a consensus on what should be in an authentic bulgogi has defeated me.  I suppose it's like the national dish of any country; every mother has her own way of doing it and everybody else is wrong!

So here's my version which I believe is fairly authentic in its ingredients, if not in cooking technique.  Bulgogi should traditionally be very thinly sliced, placed in the marinade and then almost stir fried on a griddle over a flame.  I didn't want to do it this way mainly because I wanted to barbecue it and also because I wanted to keep the ribeye pink but still charred which I couldn't achieve if it was thinly sliced.  I certainly think it's a winner and it went down a storm for tea!  Now to find some more future family favourites from Russia, Algeria and Belgium....wish me luck!


For the marinade:
2 Cloves Garlic, grated (I used smoked for extra fire!)
20g Fresh Ginger, grated
1 Fuji Apple, peeled and diced
2 Spring Onions, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
50ml Soy Sauce
25g Light Muscovado Sugar
Sesame Oil, 1 tbsp
Runny Honey, 1 tbsp

2 Ribeye Steaks

To serve:
Cooked rice
Red Gem lettuce leaves


1.  For the marinade, place the diced apple into a dish or bowl and give the apple pieces a good squeeze to release the juice which will helps tenderise the meat; add all of the remaining marinade ingredients and stir to combine.  Taste the marinade to check it has the correct level of sweetness and saltiness for you before adding the meat.
2.  Add the ribeye steaks, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
3.  Remove steaks from the marinade making sure none of the pieces of apple or onion are left on the steak then either barbecue, grill or fry in a griddle pan until cooked to your liking. (It's a good idea to get the steaks out of the fridge well in advance to take the chill off them before cooking.)
4.  While the steaks are resting, add the leftover marinade to a pan and bring to a simmer to kill remaining bacteria from the raw meat.  Make sure to add the resting juices from the steak as well (a crime to waste it!).
5.  To serve, slice steaks thinly, place on top of lettuce leaves and garnish with red chilli.  Serve with rice and the marinade.

It's great fun to make little parcels of steak, rice and marinade all wrapped in the lettuce leaves, especially with messy kids!  This would also be delicious served with Kimchi (Kimchee? Never sure!) so if South Korea make it through the group i'll have to knock some of that up!  If you want to keep up with the other bloggers taking part you can follow them on twitter by searching for #wcfc2014 Cheers!

The new barbie is a winner!


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