Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cooking is Cheaper than Therapy: Korean-Style Beef Bowl

The truth of the matter is I have no idea the origin of this recipe. It began as a Pinterest recipe, and I checked a few leads,  but each site was giving credit to each other, and some not at all. When I thought I finally found the site, it gave credit back to Pinterest. At this point all I know is that I have used this recipe so many times I have lost count - - and by now have added my own touches, hints, and options. 

Have I mentioned I love Pinterest? Well, I do. I have collected a lot of recipes from Pinterest, and I actually give them a try. If the recipe does not live up to their expectations, as per ease and taste, they get deleted. Those I love are the "keepers" I refer back to my Pinterest recipe boards. 

Perhaps I over think things, but I changed the name of the recipe - - a bit. It was named Korean Beef, but as I thought about it, what exactly makes it - - "Korean?" Well, many of the flavors do remind me of beef bulgogi, but making it authentic would Koreans actually use ground beef in this recipe?  And speaking of hamburger, I always use organic grass-fed beef. The obvious for many reasons, but also the meat is leaner.

Below are the basic ingredients, but I think one could "springboard" it up and instead of hamburger use flank steak; or keep it vegetarian and use steamed broccoli, or fresh asparagus in season. I also like to add some grated raw carrot to the cooked beef before I add the sauce ingredients. It adds texture, and the carrot especially adds color. 

Use the same sauce recipe and add it onto cooked ground turkey or chicken and place on a lettuce leaf for a lettuce wrap like that Asian-influenced chain restaurant does. Double the sauce recipe and save some for dipping. 

And don't forget to have a pot of steamed rice on stand-by. I think you will be happy at how fast this recipe pulls together. 



Korean-Style Beef Bowl Basic Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your sauces)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger 
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed dried red chili peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, diced (Don't skip this. Slice them on an angle for a more "authentic" restaurant look).  

Optional ingredients: 
1/4 cup or more of grated raw carrot
Sprinkle of sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Brown the hamburger in a skillet, and sprinkle lightly with salt and add some freshly ground black pepper. Sure, there's quite a bit of sodium already in the mixture once the soy sauce has been added, but it works to lightly layer in some flavor. Also add the minced garlic and continue to cook until the meat is brown. Once cooked, be sure and drain well if there is any fat residual. (Here is where I will add the grated carrot - an optional ingredient.)

I like to create a little "well" in the center of the same pan, and add to the center the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, dried red chili peppers, sesame seed oil, and if needed more salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and then into the meat. Toss in about half of the green onions and simmer low for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over the steamed rice, and top with the remaining sliced green onions. An option is to also sprinkle on top sesame seeds, if you have them. Also, a bit of chopped cilantro can be added for you cilantro lovers. 

Shortcuts and hints: 

If you do not have any fresh garlic on hand, then use a generous teaspoon of garlic powder and sprinkle over the meat.

Did you run out of brown sugar? I did a while back and didn't notice until I was in the middle of the recipe. What to do? I added 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar, instead. I recommend to make sure the granules cooks out, and eventually they will once they are in the soy sauce. 

Don't have a root of ginger hanging around your house? Use a 1/8 tsp of ground dry ginger, instead of the suggested 1/2 tsp of fresh grated ginger. 

Sesame oil is expensive and you get just a little container - - because all you really need is a little container for home use. I recommend to keep the oil in your refrigerator instead of in a cabinet, as it can go rancid - - and go rancid rather quickly. 

Now, get to cookin'! 

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