This dish in its entirety would technically be called ssam, which literally means 'wrapped' in Korean. It's a dish in which leafy greens are wrapped around a meat, in this case bulgogi, and is accompanied by many small side dishes called banchan

I chose to fill the ssam with kimchi, pickled cucumber, sauteed enoki mushrooms (which are actually Japanese), and gochujang

I work with Koreans so I have the pleasure of being educated on their native dishes firsthand. The cuisine's abundant use of fresh produce, spice, and fermented items has easily made it one of my favorites.

Here is a glossary of the aforementioned items for those new to Korean cuisine:

Bulgogi- A thinly sliced meat, most commonly prime cuts of beef, that has been marinated to enhance flavors and tenderness and then grilled. You'll find that most Korean restaurants have a small grill built into the tables in order for the diners to grill the meat themselves.

Banchan- Accompanying side dishes provided at meals. They usually consist of kimchi, soybeans, pickled vegetables, radish, tofu, steamed or fried whole fish, and egg pancakes to name just a few.

Kimchi- Korea's national dish and one of my favorites. Kimchi is a spicy fermented mixture of cabbage, radish, cucumber, and scallion (there can also be different variations). Read more here about the extraordinary health benefits this dish promotes.

Gochujang- Another favorite of mine. Literally meaning 'hot pepper paste', it is a Korean condiment made from chilis, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, and salt.



For the bulgogi-
1-1.5 pounds of thinly sliced rib eye or sirloin
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tbs of freshly grated ginger

For the quick pickled cucumber-
1 kirby cucumber
1 tsp salt
1 tbs of vinegar

For the mushrooms-
1 bunch of enoki mushrooms*
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of soy sauce

assorted leafy lettuce of choice

*can be found in asian food stores

Thinly slice the rib eye against the grain. Combine the rest of the ingredients and allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

While the meat is marinating, prep the rest of the components.

At least 20 minutes before serving, thinly slice the cucumber with a mandolin. Add salt and vinegar and stir well to dissolve. Set aside until ready.

Heat a saute pan to high. Add sesame oil and saute enoki mushrooms very quickly until softened and their juices have evaporated, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce and transfer the mushrooms to its serving bowl.

Once all greens have been washed and sides are cooked, heat a large saute pan to very high heat and add half of the beef and onion mixture (the marinade already contains sesame oil so no additional oil is necessary). Allow to caramelize before stirring. Saute until the beef and onions are nicely browned. Because the meat is so thin, the cooking time should be very brief, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cook the second half in the same manner.

In order to get a good color on the meat and avoid overcooking, this should be done on a very high heat and in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Overcrowding will result in excess liquid, which will end up boiling the meat and will not brown.

Garnish with freshly chopped scallions and cilantro and serve immediately with kimchi, gochujang, mushrooms, and pickled cucumbers.

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