Daeji bulgogi

One of the great staples of Korean home cooking, daeji bulgogi is easy to make and sensational to eat.


One of the great staples of Korean home cooking, daeji bulgogi – daeji means pork and bulgogi translates as “fire meat” – is easy to make and sensational to eat. The star ingredient, gochujang, is a paste made from chillies, rice and soybeans. It can be found at any Asian grocer and is easy to spot because, regardless of the brand or your ability to read Korean, it always comes in a distinctive bright red plastic flip-top tub.

If time is an issue, you could leave out the half-hour’s worth of marinating; after all, many Korean cooks simply put everything into a hot pan or wok and stir away. It’s also worth knowing that once the ingredients are mixed together, this freezes very well. A double batch – one for now, one for another day – is a real time-saver.

I serve this with steamed rice or rolled into lettuce leaves.

Daeji bulgogi

For 2.

1 pork fillet, about 300g (10 oz)
2 tablespoons gochujang paste
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin or rice wine (or one of each)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 2 cloves, minced)
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 spring onions (scallions), cut into 5cm (2 inch) pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Slice the pork fillet into the thinnest slices you can manage. It helps if you put it in the freezer for half an hour before slicing – it firms it up just enough to let your knife work wonders.

Mix all the ingredients (except the cooking oil and sesame seeds) together in a non-metallic bowl. Let everything sit and marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

Using tongs, rescue each piece of pork from the marinade and transfer to the pan. Cook until brown on both sides. Don’t crowd the pan (it makes the meat braise, not fry), so cook in a couple of batches if you need to.

When all of the pork is cooked, put it all back into the pan together just to warm it all through.

Transfer to your serving dish and sprinkle liberally with some more sliced spring onions and the sesame seeds.