Beef Bulgogi Meatballs

By: The Local Palate
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Korean cookbook author and wine pairing expert Seung Hee Lee takes on a classic Korean dish with a twist. Per her expertise, pair these savory bulgogi meatballs with a glass of bright, fruity gamay

“Bulgogi, one of Korea’s most popular beef dishes made of very thin slices marinated and then grilled at a very hot tableside grill, is often served in restaurants. At home, getting the thin bits of beef crispy is hard to mimic and often results in overcooked and anemic-looking meat, so we took the flavors of bulgogi and made mini meatballs to top rice bowls,” Lee describes.

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Makes 40 to 50 mini meatballs

  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¼ Asian pear, or Bosc or Bartlett pear, grated
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced green onion
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound ground beef, preferably chuck and short rib
  • 1 pound ground pork or veal
  • Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, for panfrying
  • Lettuce and rice for serving
  1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, pear, garlic, green onion, black pepper, and sesame oil; whisk well. Add egg, breadcrumbs, and ground meats. Gently combine all ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. Form meat mixture into 40 to 50 mini meatballs. Heat about 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add meatballs, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until meat starts to brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Gently turn and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until meatballs are just cooked through and still tender. Serve with lettuce leaves and rice, or on top of rice bowls.
  • Recipe By
    Adapted from Everyday Korean by Kim Sunee and Seung Hee Lee (Countryman Press). Copyright © 2017.

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