Korean Beef Tacos, aka Bulgogi Tacos… You would want them tonight. Just listen to me…Thinly sliced, juicy tender steak marinated in a sweet and savory marinade then flash cooked to give you a Flavor Bomb! That’s Bulgogi for you.
Now we talk the taco twist. The best Mexico-Korea food fusion is right here. We are are going to load those char fried tortillas with this juicy bulgogi. Don’t stop here (though you might tempted to dig into it just like that). Top it with an Asian themed coleslaw and a final drizzle of some sriracha aioli.
Now my friends, admire and take a big bite of your handiwork…
I can live without a lot of things. Tacos are not one of them. Seriously, from our popular Barbacoa tacos and shrimp tacos, to some of my favorites like Birria tacos and fish tacos, I seriously don’t wait for Tuesday to stuff my face with my favorite meal… Taco meal!
A few years back in Asheville, North Carolina, known for it’s eclectic cuisines from all over the world, I first bit into Korean inspired tacos for lunch. For a long time it was one of the things to cook for GypsyPlate, so here it is.
Korean beef tacos, and I am going the famous Bulgogi way. Bulgogi in tacos instead over a bowlful of rice. And believe me, it’s absolutely finger licking awesome…
What is Bulgogi?
Bulgogi, also known as Korean BBQ beef, is marinated thinly sliced beef, often cooked over an open flame or char grilled in a pan. “Bul” means fire in Korean, and “Gogi” simply refers to meat. It’s one of the most popular dishes out of Korea, and the chances of you seeing Bulgogi is very high in restaurants in all the metropolitan cities of the world.
The meat is often marinated in a soy sauce based marinade with regular Asian staples. The savory soy sauce and sweet notes from caramelized sugar create wonderful flavors in juicy tender beef.
Recipes of bulgogi marinade, and how to cook the meat, vary from region to region and household to household. Some like a hint of that special Korean heat in the form of gochujang, and some like to add a little grated pear for a tad bit more sweetness and to tenderize the meat.
What cut of meat is best for Bulgogi?
Any cut of beef that yields juicy, tender bites. The most favored cuts are flank steak, skirt steak, rib eye and sirloin. Some even used fillet minion for those tender melt in your mouth bites. Today we are using flank steak.
Can I use ground beef for the Bulgogi Tacos?
Yes you can. Just marinate the ground beef with marinade and cook it in a pan when ready to cook.
How to make Bulgogi tender
The number 1 tip is cutting the steak into thin strips, cutting it against the grain. This yield tender, juicy meat.
The 2nd tip is to add some kind of tenderizer. In this case, like many traditional bulgogi recipes, we are using grated pear. The acidic pear helps tenderize the meat when marinated.
The 3rd tip is flash cooking the meat over medium high heat, not overcrowding the pan. This ensures the meat strips don’t steam, which would result in too much liquids. Cooking it quick is the secret for juicy tender steak bites.
Ingredients for Korean Beef Tacos
- Tortillas – We like flour tortillas for these fusion tacos. You can use any of your favorite varieties.
- For Bulgogi – Flank steak, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, pear and gochujang paste (it’s Korean red chili paste, optional but so good).
- For Asian coleslaw – Red cabbage, carrot, cucumber, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, salt and pepper
- For Sriracha Aioli – Mayo, sriracha, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper.
How to make Korean Beef Tacos
Cut the steak across the grains into thin strips. Mix all the ingredients for marinade like soy sauce, brown sugar, grated pear, sesame oil, chopped garlic and ginger and gochujang paste in a bowl.
Pour the marinade over the steak slices. Mix well. Marinate at least 3 hours to overnight in a refrigerator.
Combine all the ingredients for Sriracha Aioli in a bowl. We later transfer it into a squirt bottle so you can easily squirt it all over your tacos when ready to serve. Refrigerate it until ready to use.
Make the Asian coleslaw by chopping the red cabbage and cutting the carrots and cucumber into match sticks. Make a dressing out of apple cider vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper and pour it over the coleslaw. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat and flash cook the steak slices. Arrange them in a single layer all over the pan (do these in batches if you have a smaller wok). Cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir and cook till meat is done to your likeness. Plate it out.
Final part: How to assemble the Korean Beef Tacos?
Char cook the tortillas over an open flame or an a hot pan without oil. Load the tacos with plenty of beef, followed by Asian coleslaw. Drizzle that delicious Sriracha Aioli all over and serve it with lime wedges and little bit more sesame seeds… How does all this sound??
How long to store Bulgogi?
Bulgogi refrigerates well for 3-4 days, so go ahead and make a large batch. It freezes well up to 3 months, so perfect for a meal prep option.
You can serve leftover bulgogi over a salad bowl, with rice or noodles, or plenty of veggies like stir fry. Simply thaw and reheat with a tiny dash of water on the stovetop, or in the microwave.
Both Asian coleslaw and sriracha aioli refrigerate well up to 4-5 days, too. Simply heat up fresh tortillas and you are ready for another round of tacos…
If you are taco fans guys, these Asian twist Korean beef tacos are a must for your fix. Try them, they’re highly recommended by GypsyPlate. Life is so much fun when you experiment and play with your food.
Different cuisines all over the world are jam packed with flavors and when you fuse two of the best cuisines, something like these Bulgogi tacos happen. MAKE IT HAPPEN TONIGHT in your kitchen and let us know all about it. Until then…
Korean Beef Tacos, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1.5 lbs flank steak, sliced thinly (see note 1)
- 1/2 small pear, grated
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, or 10-12 baby carrots, matchsticked
- 1 small English cucumber match, sticked
- 2 cups red cabbage, chopped
- 2-3 sprigs cilantro, chopped
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
For Sriracha Aioli
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 2.5 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp oil
- Tortillas of your choice.
- Slice the steak across the grain into thin slices.
- Mix all the marinate ingredients (soy sauce, grated pear, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and gochujang) in a bowl. Pour the mixture over steak slices, combine well and marinate at least 3 hours to overnight.
- Coleslaw: Mix dressing ingredients (apple cider vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper) in a bowl and stir it through chopped cabbage, carrots, cucumber and cilantro. Mix well, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate till ready to use.
- Sriracha aioli: Mix mayo, sriracha, sugar, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. We used a squirt bottle to serve this sriracha aioli.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Once it's hot, place the steak in a single layer all over the wok and cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another couple of minutes until the doneness you prefer. If you have a small wok, cook the steak in two batches so they don't overcrowd and steam. You need nicely seared juicy tender bulgogi beef for the tacos.
- Heat up the tortillas. We like to char them up by heating them up directly over a flame or on a heated pan without oil.
- Assemble the tacos: Take a generous scoop of steak over the tacos, top it with coleslaw and drizzle the sriracha aioli all over. Serve with extra lime.
- You can also use skirt steak or even sirloin for these tacos. We can see rib eye or fillet mignon making juicy tender bulgogi tacos too.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 506Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 93mgSodium 1183mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 4gSugar 14gProtein 35g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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