Korean Bulgogi Theme Party

27 Apr

My friend Kristen is in love with Korean food. So much so, that she loves to drag us all to Annandale, a strip-mall filled area in northern Virginia with lots of Korean restaurants, where we may have gone begrudgingly the first time, but now we beg her to take us there.  Our favorites are Bonchon Chicken (spicy, “healthy” Korean fried chicken), Honey Pig (100% authentic Korean barbecue, hard to get a table if you’re not Korean) and Yechon (24 hour diner-type Korean, you can try it all, and everyone is welcome). You can read about some of her restaurant adventures, including Bonchon, on her blog, Goodie Goodie Gumdrops.

Last week, she re-incarnated our favorite Korean basic, bulgogi.  Here it is served over white rice, with a side of broccoli, and covered in spicy Korean sauce (purchased at the Korean market).

homemade bulgogi

To make the bulgogi, she marinated thinly sliced ribeye for 1 hour in:

2 cup soy sauce
1 1/3 cup sugar
12 tablespoons sake (or rice wine or sherry)
8 tablespoons sesame oil
32 cloves garlic, minced
16 scallions (green onions), minced
8 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoon black pepper

She also chopped up mushrooms and onions.  Then, she just sauteed everything together (meat and veggies) in a large sauce pan (in batches – since she made enough for a small army!)

Her bulgogi turned out amazing! And it seems so simple. I can’t wait to make it.  I know several people have already asked for this recipe, so thank you Kristen!  Oh, and bonus, I hear Trader Joes sells bulgogi as well! So if you aren’t brave enough to try to make it yourself, at least find some to buy pre-marinated and enjoy!

Soju Shots

“Theme-Party-Cathy”

In celebration of Kristen making bulgogi, I brought over some soju, Korean potato liquor. The other dinner guests and myself had all previously sampled soju, perhaps one too many, one night in Annandale at a strip mall club/karaoke bar. However, the liquor has a low alcohol content compared to most, and it’s half juice, so compared to most shots, this one makes you feel like you could take them all night and still be on top of the world.

I love the bottle that this $8 soju comes in – “Feel so cool!” with a cute girl on it? Obviously imported… It looks more like a cigarette ad than a liquor bottle.  I found it at my local liquor store, but I do live in Chinatown.

If you do buy soju, plan to drink it in shooter form, and plan to mix half the shooter with grapefruit juice. It is actually really delicious. Do not make the mistake that fruit punch juice sounds like it would go well with soju – it does not. The fruit punch shooters tasted just like a cheap jello shot. Steer clear! Stick with the grapefruit juice.

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