kalbi with ssam jang sauce with lettuce and rice

After revealing to me that her favourite meal in Atlanta was Korean BBQ, I sheepishly admitted to @SlowFoodKitchen that I’d never tried the cuisine. So I asked around for ideas to knock up tonight. I settled on this recipe from renowned chef Judy Joo. Thanks also go to @gourmetraveller for the tips.

I didn’t quite have everything to hand for the Ssam Jang sauce – I approximated flavours and texture from the ingredient list. What I ended up with was an angry peanut butter, and dead more-ish to boot. The beef itself was great, all sticky and sweet with that savoury tang of those best buddies garlic and ginger.

Consider me a Korean BBQ convert!


500g beef rib steak, sliced into thin pieces

100g sugar

4 cloves garlic, minced

15g fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon fresh black pepper

For my not- Ssam Jang sauce:

2 tablespoons chilli sauce

1 teaspoon tomato puree

1 tablespoon tahini

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

  1. Cover the beef in the sugar and leave to cure for 30 minutes. Shake off the excess sugar and discard what’s left in the bowl.
  2. Combine the garlic, ginger, soy, oils, pepper and sesame seeds and leave the sugared beef to marinate in this for 2 hours.
  3. To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Get a pan or griddle really darn hot and fry the beef quickly for a minute on each side until nicely caramelized. Serve with rice and crisp lettuce leaves.


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