Asian fusion. Isn’t that term just the worst? I think this universally conjures up mental images of over-ambitious cream cheese laden sushi rolls, gloopy orange sauces and misguided (over)uses of sriracha. But despite its bad rep, Asian fusion can be a glorious thing. I think of the amazing pretzel pork and chive dumplings at Talde in Brooklyn, the kung pao pastrami from Mission Chinese in SF, Molly’s bacon and egg shengjian bao, and how ‘California’ rolls in Brazil have mangoes in them instead of avocado. Sure its not traditional, but that doesn’t mean it can’t taste damn good.
You can call these babies Korean BBQ Tacos, KBBQ-GOP Tacos or you can call them ‘the best thing I have ever made according to my significant other’. Either one is quite a mouthful. I need to get better at making up names for dishes. If you’ve been reading for the blog for a while you might have noticed that ‘concise’ is not exactly the name of my game. More like ‘verbose’, or ‘loquacious’, or ‘really sucks at editing’.
I learned to make green onion pancakes a while ago for Father’s Day as my dad is a huge fan of them. Turns out everyone in the world is a huge fan of them because they are delicious. And especially so when paired with Korean BBQ marinated steak tips. And griddled cheese. And kimchi. And avocado. What’s not to like right?
There are basically only two things to make here: the beef and the green onion pancakes. Everything else is just assembly. Unless of course you are a badass that makes your own kimchi. Or have a cool Korean grandmother that makes her own kimchi. In which case, jelly. In high school one of my friends had an awesome Korean grandmother that not only made kimchi but would also share pearls of Korean wisdom (like the fact that eating beets make you pretty) and made us all matching pajama bottoms. I still wear those pajama bottoms and I eat beets all the time (tbd how effective they were but its worth a shot right), so I am eternally grateful.
Korean BBQ and Green Onion Pancake Tacos
Serves 2 (Makes 4 generously sized tacos)
Korean BBQ Beef:
- 1 lb of beef cubed into 1-2 inch pieces, I use top sirloin steak tips but feel free to use short ribs (or chicken or tempeh or whathaveyou)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use the low sodium stuff)
- 1/4 cup pear puree or apple sauce (or Asian pear puree if you’re being legit)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Green Onion Pancakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 cup hot water
- Up to 1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced scallion greens
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup of mayo
- 3-5 tablespoons of sriracha
- pea sprouts
Korean BBQ Beef
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the meat, cover with saran wrap and let marinate for at least 2 hours and up to a day.
- If you are making these in the same day, now move on to the green onion pancakes. Note that you can marinate the meat a day ahead and prepare the dough for the green onion pancakes a day ahead as well.
- Once the green onion pancakes are ready to go – i.e. sliced and ready for pan frying – heat up a pan over medium-high heat for the meat.
- Once pan is hot, add the meat, being careful to not overcrowd and try not to get too much extra marinade on the pan as it can burn due to the sugar.
- Using a spatula (or tongs if you’re down with being precise) flip meat until it is browned on all sides. This should mean its sufficiently cooked but still pink inside. Cook longer if you want it well done.
- Remove meat from the pan when it is properly cooked, reduce the heat to medium and set another pan over medium heat for the green onion pancakes. Add in the rest of the marinade to the meat pan and let it reduce until its thickened. Meanwhile cook the green onion pancakes.
- Pour the reduced sauce over the rest of the meat and set aside.
Green Onion Pancakes
- I don’t deviate from the recipes so I would use this recipe for really flaky pancakes and this one for an extra dose of green onion (it gets pureed with the sesame oil!). The only difference is I tend to undercook my scallion pancakes a bit as I like them a tiny bit doughy in the middle. This is weird and you should probably not do it.
- Try to cook the pancakes around the same time your are finishing up the meat so that they will all be ready at the same time.
- UPDATE: This is probably great Superbowl food! But I would instead buy frozen scallion pancakes from an Asian market like 99 Ranch instead of making them from scratch. If you do decide to make them from scratch anyways, I commend you for being a nicer person than I ever even hope to be.
- Whip up a sriracha aioli with the mayo and sriracha using a whisk or fork.
- Once pancakes are cooked, remove the pancakes but leave the pan on over the heat. Add as much sriracha aioli as you want to each pancake.
- In the hot pan, divide the shredded mozzarella into four parts. If you can fit all 4 onto the pan do so or else just add one mound at a time and cook until it forms a griddled brown surface. Flip to quickly melt the other side then add each one to one of the pancakes.
- To finish top each taco with meat, sprouts, kimchi and avocado.
Korean Beef BBQ marinade based on The Kitchn’s Korean Barbecue Marinade
So do not be afraid of fusioning your Asian foods. It will be ok.
Well, some of the times anyways (I’m looking at your sushi rolls with cream cheese).