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Korean Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner

April 16, 2010

Last Sunday, The Boy and I went to the nearby ASSI Plaza (yeah, they don’t have the best website) to pick up pho noodles that we ran out of  that morning. I’m not sure why we fool ourselves into thinking that our trips will always be quick because they NEVER are.  Since it’s an Asian supermarket, it always turns into a game of “Oh, we need this . . . and that . . . and this . . . and that” as we don’t get out there as often as we should. It’s always at least a 60 minute ordeal.

We should know this.

But we keep forgetting.

Of course, Sunday’s trip ended with 5 bags of groceries, which included the almost-forgotten pho noodles (of course ) and an impulse purchase of beef spare ribs. The great thing about ASSI (besides its name – seriously, is it ASS-SI? I hope so) is that they have samples in pretty much every aisle. They don’t hold back either. I’ve seen seafood, meat, entire cans of soda and whole steamed buns given away as samples. I don’t know what the reaction rate is but I would say 50% of the items The Boy and I sample goes home with us. And because I chose to go to ASSI when I was peaking my pre-dinner hungers, I gravitated toward the sample guy grilling beef spare ribs with in some brand of a Korean beef marinade (I think it was intended for bulgogi but I didn’t see that word anywhere on the marinade’s jar). Whoa, holy tender meat! And into the cart went the meat. The marinade was also pretty good, but when I read the ingredients on the jar it all looked like something I could handle making at home (minus the MSG, which WAS a listed ingredient. Surprise surprise).

When we got home, I started making canh chua and asked The Boy to look up a Korean beef marinade recipe. He found something and assembled the marinade (he cooked!). Although he’s a stranger to the kitchen (“Where is the brown sugar?), he did well. When he was done, he took a taste and said it wasn’t quite right. I told him to let me try. Yup, he was right. So I added a few more ingredients (the beauty of Asian cooking is that the same ingredients pop up between the countries, so once you understand one cuisine you can pretty much figure out how to to “fix” a dish from another Asian cuisine – um, this is a general rule of thumb of course!): green onions and sesame oil. Much better!

The spare ribs went into the marinade and into the refrigerator for an overnight bath.

When we ate it the next night, we both licked our plates clean. No, seriously we did.

The Boy’s Reaction: [gnaw gnaw gnaw] “Mmmmm . . .” [gnaw gnaw gnaw]

Beef Spare Ribs in Korean Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from (my notes in red)

1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. ginger (use your grater for this one – ginger chunks suck)
2 stalks of green onions, chopped (use both the green & white parts)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Dash pepper

1 lb beef spare ribs, pieces to be no thicker than 1/8″ (or meat whatever you feel like using)

Place all the ingredients of the marinade in a large bowl. Whisk together. Add beef. Cover and marinade up to 24 hours. (Theoretically, if patience isn’t your thing, you can cook it right away.)

To cook, heat up a large nonstick frying pan. Let the pan heat up (no oil needed) before placing the beef onto the surface. Feel free to add in about a tablespoon of marinade for every 2 slices of beef right into the pan. Since this is somewhat a thin cut of meat, 2 minutes on each side should suffice for a well-done temperature.

(Feel free to use your grill instead of over the stove.)

Oh, you know that collection of pan juices in the pan? Toss some rice in it and stir it, allowing the rice to soak up the juices.  So good (and so resourceful!).

Don't be afraid - just do it!

See? That wasn't hard, was it?

Enjoy & gnaw away!

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