Thinly sliced, marinated cuts of pork, pan-seared to perfection. Tender, moist, spicy, and full of flavour. Pork never tasted so good!
Many, many moons ago, I posted a recipe to my blog for a vegetarian version of this dish using textured vegetable protein and it was delicious. You can check it out here: Korean Vegetarian Beef
It was so good, in fact, that I wanted to mimic the flavours in a pork dish as well. Although similar in flavour, this pork version is much spicier. My two vegetarians weren’t going to partake in the feast of the pork bulgogi, obviously, so I knew I could up the spice level to suit my particular tastes. I can handle a little more spice than both John.e and McKenna.
For those of you who don’t know, bulgogi is made from thin slices of beef or pork. Before cooking, the meat is marinated to enhance its flavour and tenderness with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, etc. It’s a great dish to serve with steamed rice or noodles!
Bulgogi is traditionally grilled, but pan frying or searing has become popular as well. And, that’s exactly the cooking method I used for this particular dish.
I don’t often marinate meats, but this dish really needs it. In fact, if you can leave the pork in the marinade for up to eight hours, please do so. The longer the pork sits, the more tender the meat will remain during the frying process. This is essential is you’re using a lean cut of pork such as a pork loin.
I used a very thick pork sirloin chop, because I knew I didn’t have time to marinate the pork for eight hours, and to be completely honest, I’m rather fond of pork that has marbling – much like steak. I don’t care much for leaner cuts of meat, such as a pork loin or a chicken breast. In my humble opinion, fat is always better!
This recipe is certainly adaptable to almost any tastes. For example, you could use beef instead of pork. You could lower the amount of heat by omitting the whole dried chilies and the dried red chili flakes as well.
Maybe omit would be a mistake; after all, this is a bulgogi recipe and the heat factor is completely necessary. Ha!
Korean Pork Bulgogi
- 2 pounds pork sirloin chops or pork loin, thinly sliced against the grain
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup green onions, sliced into 1 inch lengths (plus more for garnish, optional)
- 10 dried chilies, whole (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, optional
- In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, soy sauce, dried red chili flakes, ginger, brown sugar, sesame oil and vegetable oil.
- Add the sliced pork to the bowl and toss well to combine, being sure to coat all of the pork with the marinade. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Once ready, use a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear each slice of pork on both sides until slightly charred. Remove from skillet and transfer to a platter. Continue to fry pork in batches until done.
- Using a clean skillet, over medium heat, add the already seared pork, green onions, sesame seeds, and whole dried chilies. Toss to combine.
- Cook for five minutes until green onions are wilted and chilies have partially re-hydrated.
- Plate and garnish with freshly sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
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