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Marinated beef cabbage wraps (bulgogi ssäm)

"Ssäm means 'wrapped', or 'to wrap'. Koreans love to wrap things and apparently they've been doing so since the Goryeo kingdom, which began more than a thousand years ago," says Sears. "At the restaurant we cook the meat over charcoal, but seared in a hot pan is fine. The marinade recipe will make more than you need, but it lasts a long time and is a very good beef marinade. Ssäm can be wrapped in anything from lettuce leaves and pumpkin leaves, seaweed sheets to pressed sheets of dried fish or persimmon. Large shiso leaves ('kkaennip' in Korean) are particularly good." Begin this recipe a day ahead to marinate the beef.

You'll need

300 gm piece of boneless beef short rib, sinew trimmed, thinly sliced across the grain into 10 slices 10 cabbage leaves 80 gm pine nuts For brushing: grapeseed oil To serve: Korean fish sauce 2 spring onions (green part only), thinly sliced To serve: borage flowers   Bulgogi marinade 120 ml Korean soy sauce 1 nashi, peeled and coarsely chopped ½ onion, coarsely chopped 15 gm piece of ginger, finely grated 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 30 ml maesil (fermented plum extract) 2½ tsp caster sugar 1½ tsp sesame oil 1 tsp mirin


  • 01
  • For bulgogi marinade, blend ingredients in a food processor, then transfer to a saucepan and reduce over medium heat by a quarter (10-15 minutes). Cool and reserve.
  • 02
  • Place the beef in a bowl and add enough bulgogi marinade to coat lightly (reserved remainder for another use) and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 03
  • Cut a 10cm round from each cabbage leaf with a cutter, then blanch cabbage (1-2 minutes), drain and refresh lightly under cold water. Drain on paper towels.
  • 04
  • Lightly pulse pine nuts in a food processor to a fine crumb (be careful not to pulse too much or you’ll end up with pine nut butter). Set aside.
  • 05
  • Heat a char-grill pan over high heat. Wipe excess marinade from beef, then brush beef with a little grapeseed oil and char-grill in batches until charred and just cooked (1 minute each side). Place a piece of beef on each cabbage round, add a few drops of Korean fish sauce if you like some funkiness and sprinkle with pine nuts, spring onion and borage flowers.

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Drink Suggestion

Jumpin’ Juice Half Full red blend by Patrick Sullivan.

Featured in

Jul 2014

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