Five Ingredient Korean Beef Marinade

After spending the last two years in Korea, I find myself longing for the flavors that I so often took for granted. Bulgogi and rice was one of our staples and I miss being able to pick it up for a quick dinner from a little restaurant right outside of Camp Carrol. I haven’t tried any Korean restaurants in Kaiserslautern but I also haven’t heard good reviews about them. So, I have to recreate it myself. Tatiana sent me some red bean paste and some other tasty Korean treats, because she is awesome like that.


Our commissary here carries a bulgogi cut beef and also a jarred bulgogi marinade. I bought both and enjoyed the flavor but I didn’t enjoy the price. A jar of marinade is around 5 dollars and I used it up in a week. I’m also making an effort to buy foods with only ingredients that  I understand and this marinade had too many ingredients that I couldn’t read. We have recently made a serious effort at cutting sugar out of our diets and it totally works without sugar. If you are not wary of sugar, add a half a cup of brown sugar for a sweet delicious flavor. Also try adding a 1/2 cup of applesauce as the Korean marinades normally include a pear puree and most of us have applesauce in our kitchen already.  Feel free to substitute the soy sauce for a healthier alternative like Coconut Aminos, Braggs Aminos or a low sodium soy sauce. This is my simple base for a marinade.

The Players

  • Soy Sauce (or soy substitute)- 1 1/2 cup
  • Sesame Oil- 2 tbsp
  • Red Pepper Flakes- 1 tsp
  • Minced Garlic- 3 cloves
  • Chopped Green Onions- 2 stalksDSC_0708

Combine the ingredients and add your beef. I use about 3 pound of beef for this amount. I am lucky to have access to a very thin bulgogi cut beef. I’m not sure if this is a common cut in grocery stores. If you can’t find a thin cut, you’ll want to slice your beef as close to paper thin as you can.  I make this on a Monday and let it marinade overnight before cooking any of it. I like to have it available for lunches for a few days during the week. So sometimes it marinades for 3 days before I finish it off. DSC_0710DSC_0718

Store this in the refrigerator on Monday and pat yourself on the back for being prepare. *Thinking ahead is not my strength (whoops AND I’m a mom), so when I prepare meals in the beginning of the week, I usually open the fridge a couple times just to gaze and smile at my work.

When you are ready to cook it, turn your burner on high. I use a nonstick pan, a pair of rubber tongs and a pair of cooking shears. Cook two slices at a time. You don’t need any oil because of the sesame oil. When the pan it hot, throw your beef in the pan and cook on either side for a minute each. Then use the tongs in one hand and the shears in the other to cut them in to small pieces over the pan. Continue cooking and stirring constantly until all of the beef is browned.


Serve it over rice and along side of broccoli or anything else you want. Cut more green onions over top and sprinkle sesame seeds for a garnish. I put it over spinach for a nice salad and squeeze a lime over for dressing.

~I hope you enjoy this quick and easy Korean beef~

2 thoughts on “Five Ingredient Korean Beef Marinade

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