Sunday special bulgogi

Sunday evenings were always something to look forward to when I was growing up because my mum would cook a dish that was simply known to my sisters and me as ‘Sunday special’. It was a delicious dish of sliced beef in a garlicky, sweet soy marinade and served with rice. Even though we ate it pretty much every Sunday we never got tired of it. I later found out that the dish was none other than the classic Korean classic, Bulgogi, and it’s still a staple of my diet today. This recipe that I’m posting is slightly different to my mum’s (she would add mirin and grated ginger and just have it over steamed rice), but there are many ways to get inventive with this.



  • 300g scotch fillet, sliced very thin
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • 60 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ nashi pear
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Pinch pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1-2 shallots, sliced
  • Sesame seeds
  • Red chilli
  • Cooked rice
  • Lettuce

Mix the soy, water, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowel with the thinly sliced beef. Puree the nashi pear and half the onion in a blender and add this to the beef and marinade mix. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to start cooking, mix the sesame oil in with the beef and marinade. Heat the pan or wok on high and coat with a splash of vegetable oil. Put all the beef into the pan along with the marinade for 3 minutes or until cooked. Slice up the remaining onion and add this to the pan along with the sliced shallots to cook for another minute or so. Take it off the heat and put the bulgogi in a bowl to take to the table to serve immediately.

At the table, take individual lettuce leaves and fill them with a little cooked rice, bulgogi and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced red chilli. For a bit of extra kick, top it off with some chilli sauce (I like to use sriracha sauce) or add some kimchi. Wrap it all up and pop the lettuce parcel into your mouth in one bite. It’s not a particularly elegant way to eat, but it’s so damn tasty that you won’t care.

Serves 2 with leftovers


Shin Joong-hyun

Shin Joong-hyun

For a classic Korean dish, you need a classic Korean song. This one comes from the granddaddy of Korean rock, Shin Joong-hyun from his band Shin Joong-hyun and The Men and is called Beautiful River and Mountains. It’s a deep, spiritual psychedelic rock record of the highest order that could easily sit among the best US and UK bands.  Listen here:

Light in the Attic recently reissued this record in a compilation of the same name along with other classic jams that range from folky pop to bluesy rock that he produced from 1958-74.  It should be easy enough to find in your local record store, but if you’re out of luck you can buy it online here or here.

If you’re after a full mix of Korean jazz, funk and psych to accompany your meal in full, then check out this great mix that DJ Soulscape did for Turntable Lab below:

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5 thoughts on “Sunday special bulgogi

  1. Emiko says:

    So love that you included this recipe from our childhood and called it as it’ll always be known, Sunday special! Love the intro to Korean music too, would never have known!

  2. Love it mate! Will be making this on Saturday! Keep up the great work.

  3. Anna Bay says:

    Yum – mo! Totally having Sunday Special!

  4. cecille says:

    this recipe sounds yummee, will try this one sunday and you can come over! food plus music very thoughtful.

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