Korean beef Bulgogi

Super tender Korean beef with sesame and garlic

Ever thought about putting kiwi onto your steak? Yeah, I know that this sounds like a really odd idea…
Well let’s start a few steps earlier in the thought process haha
I came across Bulgogi a few years back and was quite surprised that this Korean barbecue meat is often marinated with fruit. Sometimes with pear, sometimes with pineapple, and sometimes with kiwi. The acidity of the fruit helps to break down the proteins in the meat. This makes the meat incredibly tender! And I mean really melt-in-your-mouth tender! The longer you marinate the meat the more tender it gets. I tried this with spareribs once and they almost turned into a paste. So there is a limit on how long you should marinate the meat… it depends on the meat you use, but half a day should really do the trick. Try it it’s really really tasty!

Delicious Korean beef Bulgogi with all the fixings


(for 4 hungry bellies)

  • 1/2 leek
  • 2 kiwis
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cm of ginger
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry, or Shaoxing rice wine
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 800g beef steak, dare to try the cheaper cuts


Make the marinade and let the kiwi work its magic!

Cut the leek into thin rings, wash and drain properly. Peel the kiwis and squish the flesh with a fork to puree. Peel and mince the garlic as well as the ginger. Cut up the chili into thin slices – seeds and all.

In a very large freezer bag, whisk together the kiwi, garlic, ginger, chili, brown sugar, sherry, soy sauce, sesame seeds and sesame oil.

Cut the beef steak into thin strips and place the meat strips in the marinade. Let marinade for 8 to 12 hours.

Fry up your tasty meat

Heat a large frying pan on high heat and add some oil to coat it. Fetch meat out of the marinade and fry in the pan until well browned. Don’t crowd the pan and keep the meat in a single layer to allow for crispy browning. Repeat until all meat is browned.

When all meat is cooked, add the remaining marinade to the pan and cook until reduced to a thick sauce. If the sauce if too thick and there is still a lot of flavor stuck to the pan, add some vegetable stock to loosen it.

Add meat back into the sauce to warm it up for just a moment.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro.

Serve with lettuce leafs, kimchi and various dipping sauces. Enjoy your Korean barbecue feast!


Let me know in the comments what you think about this recipe! Have you ever marinated meat with fruit before? Think another fruit like pear or orange would work better? Maybe even pineapple! … I’m getting hungry again while typing this…

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