A Love for Bool Gogi (Bulgogi)

by Cate on October 14, 2008

BulgoogiI love that Nicholas knows what Bool Gogi is.  Not only does he know what it is, he requests it.  Yesterday at the grocery store, since I didn’t menu plan for this week (planning on doing 3 weeks on, 1 week off), I was standing in front of the meat counter, trying to decide on dinner tonight.  Nicholas piped up with “Bool Gogi!  Bool Gogi!”  And so it was.

I heard a passing reference to Bool Gogi ages ago and made a mental note to look it up (you can get more details here about the background of the dish).  When the mental note didn’t work, I wrote it down.  I’ve never made Korean food before, so this popular beef dish is I hope the first of many.  Translated into “fire meat” in Korean, it refers to the cooking method, as it is typically grilled.  It’s not spicy at all.

A marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, water, sugar, garlic, diced pear, onion, sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, pepper and scallions and some time in the fridge, and you are ready to go.  Although it’s suggested that it marinate overnight, I usually do it for a few hours.  When I looked up the Wikipedia info, I noticed that it also mentioned a Bool Gogi fast food hamburger, where the patty is marinated in this mixture … and that totally has my mouth watering.  Still trying to decide what to make for company on Saturday and that just might be the ticket.  But with three more days to decide … and change my mind … who knows?

This dish is usually served alongside rice, and that’s the way we’ve been eating it.  The first time I made it, I left it for the boys to eat as I was heading out.  When I called to say goodnight to Nicholas, I asked about dinner, and it turned out that he hosed three plates of the stuff down.  It doesn’t get better than that.

Aside from the pre-marinating part, the recipe comes together very quickly, so if you toss the marinade together the night before, it will make a quick and tasty weeknight meal when you come home from work.  Just get the rice going, and while it’s cooking, start the Bool Gogi.  They’ll both be done in about 20 minutes.  Take that Rachael Ray!

P.S.  I love recipes that are fun to say or that have unusual names, and this is certainly one of them.  Pronounced bull-go-gee (as in geese).

P.P.S.  Regarding the how-to-handle-just-ok-recipes topic from last week, I’m going to postscript them, so that I’ve passed on the information, but not devoted a whole piece to a recipe that didn’t pass muster in the O’Malley household.  And the first one?  Rachael Ray’s 18 Carrot Cupcakes from the October 2008 issue of her magazine.  I made a batch for two birthdays last week.  Not bad, but just ok.  Next!

P.P.S.S.  Book #19.  Discovering an old children’s classic for the first time.

Bool Gogi (Bulgogi)
Recipe from Korean Cuisine

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1-1/2 tb sesame seeds
1 tb sesame oil
3 tb sugar
1-1/2 tb minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon rice wine
3-4 green onions
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1 Asian pear or apple, small dice

Combine ingredients and add approximately 1 lb of top round, sliced very thinly.  Sometimes, to get the slices extra thin, I lightly freeze the meat first, which makes it easier to cut.  Marinate overnight.  Panfry the Bool Gogi in a skillet and serve with steamed rice.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmen October 15, 2008 at 11:49 am

I love bulgogi too! You can also use the same marinade for kalbi (short ribs sliced across the bone thinly, a bit harder to find unless you have access to a Korean grocery store nearby), and it’s a whole new dish!

Carmens last blog post..Tuesdays with Dorie – Lenox Almond Biscotti


betsy October 15, 2008 at 10:21 pm

That looks sooooo good. I hardly ever cook meat at home —- did you put oil in the pan before cooking, and about how long did it take and at what temp.

Can you tell I don’t cook meat often!! Sorry for all the questions.

I am soooo trying this recipe.



Andrea October 15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

You are doing such a wonderful thing for your son introducing him to diverse cuisines and foods at such a young age! I LOVE it. My father was always an adventurous eater (he called eating life’s second greatest pleasure, but wouldn’t divulge the first!) and I got my adventurous pallet from him. What a gift! This recipe looks great! I’ve never made korean food, maybe this would be a good place to start.

Andreas last blog post..Grapefruit Tarts in a Gingersnap Crust


Tanya October 16, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Wow! I had no idea that this was reasonable to make at home. Thanks!

Tanyas last blog post..Welcome Home! Apple Pie!


Jenny October 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Looks good, I’m adding this to next week’s menu plan.

Jennys last blog post..Happy Birthday to my little boy!


Kristine October 17, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Love your website. Found it through Tastespotting, and I’ve bookmarked several recipes and tried a couple (deconstructed lasagna – a winner – thanks!!). I LOVE bulgogi. So easy and fancy! My husband about fell over when I made it. Worthy of a fancy restaurant. I served mine in butter lettuce leaves, with brown rice, and a little diced cucumber/vinegar/soy sauce salad. Yum. Thanks for reminding me to make it sometime soon!


Cate October 17, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Kristine – thanks for visiting – love that Deconstructed Lasagna. Great tip about serving the Bool Gogi in lettuce cups with rice – definitely doing that next time!

Jenny – awesome!

Tanya – No problem!

Andrea – thanks for your kind words. Even the baby is eating Gorgonzola cheese now – love it. Growing up, friends of the family had crazy bland palates and it made it difficult any time they ate outside of their home. Definitely left an impression.

Betsy – no oil in the pan, because you’ll have the marinade. :)

Carmen – thanks for the the new idea. :)


Nate October 29, 2008 at 2:46 pm

We usually get our bulgogi premarinated from the local Korean store (I know, we’re spoiled that way).

I vaguely remember seeing someone post a bulgogi burger recipe somewhere…ah, here it is!


Nates last blog post..Two-Year Bloggerversary Week


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