Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CN – Chinese takeout, Japanese sushi, Thai noodles: Asian foods have long been a staple in American food culture. But over the past few years, there’s another Asian cuisine that’s been taking us by storm: Korean barbecue and, especially, beef bulgogi … aka fire meat.
What Is Bulgogi?
Bulgogi is thinly sliced, marinated meat that’s usually cooked over a flame or grill. The name says it all: “bul” means fire and “gogi” means meat in Korean, translating quite literally to “fire meat.”
It’s a staple in Korea, dating back to the second and third centuries B.C. At that time, the people living in what’s now known as Korea, covered meat in a sauce and then used skewers to cook it over a fire.
Many centuries later, Korean nobility made a similar version of the original bulgogi, using thick cuts of meat over a charcoal fire. Interestingly, it wasn’t until there was a U.S. presence in Korea because of the Korean War that the meat used in bulgogi was cut thinly — our army came equipped with slicing machines.
Today, pan frying bulgogi is quite common and allows people to easily make a bulgogi recipe at home without a blazing barbecue.
Though you can find spicy pork bulgogi and chicken bulgogi, the traditional version is made with thin-sliced beef. The bulgogi marinade is important, too: it’s sweet with a little kick, but not too spicy. It’s also usually accompanied by rice and kimchi, a fermented cabbage that’s a probiotic superstar.
In my Bulgogi Recipe, I’ve made a few swaps so you can easily recreate this Korean BBQ recipe easily at home.
Instead of sliced beef, we’ll use ground beef, which will help this bulgogi come together quickly. While white rice is tasty, it doesn’t add any nutritional value. So instead, we’ll sub in quinoa, which adds protein and all the essential amino acids.
Finally, instead of soy sauce, my bulgogi recipe uses coconut aminos, keeping this Korean beef totally gluten-free.
Let’s get our bulgogi on.
How to Make Korean Beef Bulgogi
In a large pot, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add in the sprouted quinoa, turn the heat down to medium-low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Next, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the broccoli florets on the baking sheet, and give them a good toss with avocado oil, garlic powder and sea salt. Roast for 20 minutes.
While the broccoli roasts, brown the ground, grass-fed beef in a large pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the maple sugar, coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic powder, brown rice vinegar and ground ginger.
Add the maple sugar mixture to the browned meat and mix well. Then divide the quinoa among four bowls. Top with the beef mixture and roasted broccoli for a Korean beef bowl.
Add some extra flavor by sprinkling crushed red pepper, sea salt, fresh-cracked black pepper and green onions to the bulgogi bowl if you’d like.
Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe
Heard of popular “fire meat”? This is it! In this bulgogi recipe, I’ve made a few swaps so you can easily recreate this delicious Korean BBQ recipe at home.
- 1 cup sprouted quinoa
- medium head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ cup maple sugar
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- crushed red pepper, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chopped green onions (optional)
- In a large pot, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add in sprouted quinoa, turn down to medium-low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place broccoli florets on the baking sheet and toss with avocado oil, garlic powder and sea salt.
- Roast broccoli for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large pan.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together maple sugar, coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic powder, brown rice vinegar and ground ginger.
- Add the maple sugar mixture to the browned meat and mix well.
- Divide quinoa among four bowls. Top quinoa with beef mixture and top with roasted broccoli.
- Top bulgogi with crushed red pepper, sea salt and pepper and green onions, if desired.
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