Reicpe: Korea Asada, a blend of Bulgogi and Carne Asada
I grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles, a melting pot of whites, Mexicans and Koreans. I was exposed to a variety of cultural food from both my own mixed ethnicity family, Korean and Mexican neighbors. These two ethnic groups had a very similar meat dish. The Mexicans called it carne asada and my Korean friends had a version called Bulgogi. This recipe combines elements from both of these dishes and combines it with my Grandma’s Southwest inspired recipe.
Focus on Key Ingredients
Korean Pear – The Korean Pear is different than your typical European pear, such that it is more crunchy and have a melon floral notes. The enzymes in Korean pears also act to break down the connective tissues in tough meat, making it a great add in to a marinade. Korean pears also help to create a nice crust on cooked meat.
Jeju madarin– This is a variety of Mardarin oranges produced on the semi-tropical island of Jeju, south of Korea. This is essentially the Hawaii of Korea. They are sweet and just slightly acidic, perfect for a marinade.
Hatch Chile Powder – The taste and aroma of dried Hatch chile is unique to the American Southwest and provided a deep, smoky flavor layer and delayed spiciness to a dish. My grandmother would use a similar dark New Mexico chili powder in her Carne Asada.
Ingredients for Korea Asada marinade
- 1 Melissa’s Produce Korean pear (cored and diced)
- 3 Melissa’s Produce Jeju Mandarin oranges
- 1/2 Sweet Brown onion, chopped
- 4 Melissa’s Produce Key limes, juiced
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Shallots – diced, greens and whites separated
- 1/2 Bunch cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Ingredients for meat and grilling
- 1 pound carne asada (skirt steak cut in 1/2 inch slices) – ask your butcher to slice
- 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 Tablespoons Melissa’s Produce Hatch Chili powder (or Dark Chili powder)
Instructions – Korea Asada
1) Coursely blend diced Korean Pear, shallots, garlic and cilantro, set aside in marinade pan
2) Finely blend JeJu oranges and combine in the marinade pan; mix
3) Add soy sauce, fish sauce and toasted sesame oil, juice of three key limes; mix
– Reserve 4 tablespoons of marinade before adding meat
4) Place carne asada into the marinade, cover and let refrigerate overnight (best) or minimum 2 hours.
5) In lined grill pan, turn heat to high and apply two tablespoons of peanut oil
6) While pan heats, remove meat from marinade and shake off excess moisture (o.k. to have plenty of the thick marinade mixture on steak)
7) When pan begins to lightly smoke, place steak on pan. Be sure to allow steaks to lie flat on the pan.
If too much liquid collects in the pan, drain and continue cooking.
8) Sprinkle the Hatch chile powder over the meat. Add onions and cilantro on top of cooking steak.
9) Let steak cook 4 minutes on one side,the steak should be caramelized and browned on one side.
10) Flip the steak and cook another 2 minutes. Again, drain pan if needed. I aim for medium-well meat.
Note: BBQ or gas grill also works great for this recipe
Carrots and Spinach Side – Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 6 carrots, quartered
- 1 Shallot (greens and whites)
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 4 cups of Korea Asada marinade (see above)
Instructions – Carrots and Spinach Side
1) While meat is cooking, prepare the carrots
2) Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to pan, turn heat to Med-High
3) Add Carrots, garlic and shallots (green and white segments) to hot pan and toss with oil
4) Season carrots with salt, pepper
5) When carrots are browned and tender, add baby spinach and four tablespoons of reserved marinade
6) Cook until spinach is wilted
Serve the Korea Asada with the browned onions and fresh cilantro, garnish the plate with a quartered lime and carrot side dish.