Fire Meat aka Bulgogi

icy windscreen

We woke to a thick frost this morning and went outside to play in the crunchy grass, leaving footprints. The sky was blue and stripy and our car looked prettier than it ever has before, especially the windows.

We are supposed to have rain coming in tonight, all of us, so perhaps that will be the end of this very acceptable stretch of excellent weather we have been having.

In this cooler climate a hot lunch was appealing so I made me a faux bulgogi with a small piece of steak leftover from preparing my man's dinner last night; a trimming, you understand.

Bulgogi (bul means fire and gogi means meat) is an Absolutely Delicious spicy, sweet, hot Korean dish comprising strips of steak marinated in a soy, garlic, spring onion, sesame goo and then seared in a hot pan.

About 10 years ago a huge friend of mine, Clarky (he’s 6’6”), and I ran the food and bar side of the Royal B.V.I. Yacht Club. I used to do a very varied menu so that hopefully the members didn’t get bored and were therefore tempted to dine frequently. 


Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club logo


One day I had some steak trimmings and decided to go for the old bulgogi ploy. This was a private members club where we knew almost every customer so it was quite a surprise when a real bone fide Korean chap came in to lunch, a guest of one of our regulars. He ordered my Bulgogi and I was nervous, fearing that I may have taken quite a liberty with his country’s cuisine but, if the gentleman is to be believed, it was spot on. He did come back in the evening for a second serving so presumably, even if it was spot off, he enjoyed it.

A little leftover steak turned into delicious bulgogi

Bulgogi ...


          ... as I made it then

500g steak – sirloin or something else good
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
3 spring onions – thinly sliced, diagonally is prettiest
2 crushed cloves of garlic
generous grind of black pepper
a little finely chopped hot red chili - optional but I like it
1 more spring onion sliced diagonally

½ tbsp more sesame seeds

~  Thinly slice the steak across the grain.
~  Mix together all the other ingredients, apart from the two at the end, and marinate the beef in the mixture for several hours or overnight (or day).
~  Grill or pan sear the steak over high heat till brown and cooked to your liking – it doesn’t take long.
~  Serve sprinkled with the reserved sliced spring onion and sesame seeds.



Bulgogi is often eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves together with rice and kimchi (pickled cabbage) but I prefer it with stir fried rice.

Easy Cheaty Bulgogi


My “bulgogi” today was inauthentic; I made it by mixing together soy, sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil and some ginger syrup left over from making Buttered Rum & Ginger Ice Cream from my book, Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine.

I didn’t add sugar to this bulgoggi because of the other sweet ingredients.

bowl of easy, cheaty bulgogi


I always keep a few bags of cooked rice in the freezer for emergency stir fries and I used up some bits and pieces of vegetable matter laying around – sadly no red or yellow pepper to bring a bright and happy colour to the dish but for which I apologise.


Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers


I'm so inspired by leftovers that, since writing this blog post, I have written an entire book on the subject ...


seriously useful leftovers cookbook
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