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Korean BBQ - Home Edition

Another gloomy day. What better way to bring cheer than with Korean BBQ? By now you should know me and how I don't really like fussy rules. Like my version of Hot Pot, you can make Korean BBQ with only some basic essentials and what you have on hand or can get easily in the market. All you need is a grill, meat, lettuce for wrapping, rice and sauce.



Of course you can get fancier than that but at the most basic level that's what you need. I feel like the meat can vary and other ingredients can vary but we always have lettuce, red leaf is preferred in my house because it's delicate and pretty but butter lettuce is a close second, and ssamjang which is a sauce used for ssam which means "wraps".


What exactly is ssamjang? It's a sauce that you can use as a dip or we like smearing a little inside our lettuce before adding our grilled meat, rice and veggies. You can buy a premade tub in stores or you could make your own by mixing doenjang and gochujang and any other ingredients like garlic and green onions.


What meats? We like getting pork belly from Costco, grilling or broiling it if you don't have a grill, and cutting them into bite size pieces. You can also buy thin sliced marinated pork or beef from the Asian store, or use any seafood or even tofu and mushrooms. All great choices as long as they are cooked through.


What vegetables? You need lettuce because that's the wrap. Other great ingredients include onions, mushrooms, zucchini, kimchi, garlic, peppers, cucumbers and perilla leaves. The cucumbers and perilla leaves do not need to be grilled. The flavors of the other veggies are enhanced by grilling, even if just lightly.


What sides? Rice is great, just a small scoop in each bite sized wrap. Kimchi goes well with any Korean dish. The sourness helps cut through the fat from the meat and is good for digestion. A nice simply dressed salad of green onions also balances out the fattiness of the meat. From there, the sky's the limit on sides! Braised lotus roots, soy braised potatoes, sauteed fish cake strips, marinated seaweed, spinach, broccoli, the list goes on!


Another nice side is gyeranjjim, Korean steamed eggs. Korean steamed eggs differ from Chinese and Japanese steamed eggs which are gently steamed and has a custard like texture. Korean steamed eggs have a more fluffy, airy, spongy texture. I've seen many recipes for this dish. Some prepare it almost like Chinese or Japanese steamed eggs but I think the traditional way of making it is to get some water or stock boiling in an earthenware pot, adding eggs that were slightly beaten into it and mixing it, covering and boiling for a few minutes until done. The product is an airy and soft scrambled egg. You can eat as is or add in small chopped vegetables like green onions and peppers.


However way you choose to enjoy Korean BBQ make sure you have lettuce to wrap, ssamjang and rice. Even those 3 things by themselves are yummy. Enjoy!

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