"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.
- 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
- 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
- 1For 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.
- 2Place the beef in a bowl and add enough bulgogi marinade to coat lightly (reserved remainder for another use) and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
- 3Cut 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.
- 4Lightly 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.
- 5Heat 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.
Drink Suggestion: Jumpin’ Juice Half Full red blend by Patrick Sullivan. Drink suggestion by Ned Brooks