Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bulgogi a la Momo (Marinated Flank Steak)

I can't help but get a little emotional every time I smell the marinade of this steak. This is one of those meals that evokes a rainbow of emotions within me; I feel a sense of loss for the fact that I no longer live at home, under the protection of my mama bird's wing, while I also feel a bit of joy, knowing that she's here with me, as I cook (and only a phone call away). My pride swells knowing that I can make this meal (almost) as well as she can (because let's be honest, moms are always better than us at cooking, right?), but I almost always feel a bit of remorse, like I'm an imposter standing in for my Mom because she's the one who should be creating this masterpeice. It's likely I'm being overanalytical, and hyper-sensitized by a simple steak, but smells have a way of connecting with memories that make them quite powerful.

I've been trying to limit (while allow) red meat in my diet. I try to have it once a week because I know it is a good (if not great) source of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, but for health reasons I'd rather obtain these vital dietary neccessities through alternate food sources such as soy beans, spinach, bran, and nuts. Nevertheless, variety is the spice of life, and sometimes I crave a good olfactory trip down memory lane, if not to be closer to my mom.

Even though it's ridiculously easy to make, you can easily fool anyone you're cooking for that you really slaved in the kitchen pulling this one together--it's that good. I've found that referring to it as "Korean Barbeque Steak," as it is sometimes called, causes less upper-lip-raising (as in, "WHAT are you going to be serving??!?!"). Nevertheless, sometime the adverse reactions are funny and "Bowl-gog-E" is fun to say!

And for those vegetarians out there, it's likely that the marinade would make for a yummy tofu, tempeh, or seitan "steak"!

I like to serve this with my quinoa pilaf and fresh asparagus grilled (or broiled). I'll cover the asparagus in a mixture of: 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon miran (sweet rice vinegar), 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 clove garlic (or garlic salt), and a sprinkle of ginger.

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)
The Edibles:
  • 1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 6 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 T. mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger (I always used powdered ginger and it always turns out magnificently)
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (I've used fresh, dried, jarred, or powdered... all will work)
  • 3 fresh scallions, whites and green cut into about 1/4 inch slices (I've actually used dried chives when I realized I had totally blanked on picking up scallions at the store... even though they're technically not the same, it still turned out delicious!)
The Making:
  1. Combine sugar (or sugar substitute), and next 6 ingredients (sugar through scallions) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and shake up until well mixed. Drop in the steak (gently, now) and marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour, turning bag occasionally. I've found that longer marinatation times yield exponentially better, more flavorful steaks. So if you can, plan ahead. Easier said than done, right?
  2. Once your steak has marinated to its (and your) heart's desire, prepare your grill (a.k.a. turn on that bad boy), or preheat broiler.
  3. Carefully remove beef from bag, reserving the marinade. Place beef on hot grill or under a preheated broiler. Your cooking time will depend on the steak's thickness, so keep a careful eye on your beef. For a steak that was about 1/2 inch thick that I placed under the broiler (no need to flip it), I cooked it about 8 minutes. I think these are best cooked to medium or medium-well, and that timing made them perfect! If grilling, cook the steaks for about 4 minutes per side, again until desired level of doneness.
  4. While the steak cooks, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and cook over medium to medium high heat, until it comes to a rolling, slow boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. I usually boil it for about 5 minutes to make sure anything and everything that isn't supposed to be in your food is killed off. :-)
Estimated Nutritional Information:

Calories: 208 (33% from fat)
Fat: 7.6g (sat 2.7g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.7g)
Protein: 26.1g
Carbohydrate: 6.4g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 76mg
Iron: 3.1mg
Sodium: 457mg
Calcium: 19mg

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