Friday, June 4, 2010

Marinated Bulgogi-Style Chicken

My husband is a very humble man.

Let me give you an example of his humility.

We sat down for dinner to try this chicken and, after each taking a bite, noted how awesome it came out.

Then Mr. Vittles said to me, "You better tell your blog readers that I'm the one that grilled that chicken."

I responded that I would, and said that I should have taken a picture of him at the grill as proof.

"Oh no," he protested, "there doesn't need to be photographic evidence.  I just want to make sure you spread the word that The V Man dominated the grill."

So there you have it, folks.  "The V Man" dominated the grill, and "the word" is officially spread.

But grill domination is only half the battle. The making of the marinade was all me.  

This recipe from Food and Wine caught my eye because this past winter three of my best girls and I ate a fabulous dinner out at a Korean restaurant in Manhattan.  We were able to cook our own meat on a charcoal grill in the middle of the table (like the picture below from their website) which was pretty fun:

Copyright 2004 - Wonjo Korean Restaurant

But I will admit, I was a little hesitant going there. I literally had to drag myself onto the train that Saturday, not yet fully recuperated from a serious hangover due to overconsumption of Absinthe (given to me by Mr. V a couple birthdays ago) the night before.

PS- Absinthe, even in it's legalized watered-down form, is not a drink for the faint of heart.  In my drinking heyday (which, I assure you, is long over) I got some nasty hangovers, but too much of this drink catapulted me from sober to drunk to severely ill in a matter of about an hour.

So in my condition, I was not even sure I'd be able to eat - and Korean food was never high on my list of favorites anyway.

BUT the freezing walk from the train station to the restaurant helped my head a little, and my girlfriend Janine Vittles assured us all how amazing the bulgogi beef was.

So we ordered that, as well as some chicken, and when it was done grilling we wrapped the meat in big lettuce leaves with rice and vegetables and all sorts of other goodies.

As promised, it was delicious.  Instant hangover cure.

And I have to say, this marinade (not to mention my husband's expert grilling of the meat) came commendably close to capturing the flavors of that night.  

It probably would have been great wrapped in lettuce leaves with rice, but a) I didn't have any big lettuce leaves and b) I wouldn't even know where to begin with all the fun trimmings that accompanied our meal at the Korean restaurant.  So, we just ate this with some leftover chili lime basmati rice I had made earlier in the week. 

Maybe you know more about Korean food than I (which wouldn't be hard to do) and will think of some better side dishes or ways to serve this.  But either way, I'm sure you will enjoy this as much as we did.

Just make sure you or someone you know is prepared to Dominate the Grill.

Marinated Bulgogi-Style Chicken
  • 1/3 C. soy sauce
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 t. freshly ground pepper
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 t. ground ginger*
  • 1 T. sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 lbs. thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets (or regular breasts pounded 1/3 inch thick)
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Seal the bag, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 4 hours.

Light a grill (or preheat a grill pan) and oil the grates. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brush lightly with oil.  Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds if desired and serve.  (If using regular pounded chicken breasts, first slice thinly and then serve).

*Note: The original recipe calls for 1 T. freshly grated ginger, which does give a different taste than ground ginger.  I just didn't have any fresh ginger, so I used a (somewhat poor) substitute.  If you have it already, or want to be more authentic, feel free to use fresh.

Recipe Adapted from Food and Wine (by Nick Fauchald)


  1. I have always loved chicken. I find it healthier. This is a nice chicken recipe! Thanks for this!

  2. this is wonderful!
    i am going to start a recipe link party on my blog starting monday! hope you link your mouth watering recipes so all my readers could enjoy also!!

  3. I am so excited a trip with our Crew prompted you to post this recipe. I have always enjoyed Korean food because one of my dearest friends from College was Korean and her Mom would come over and cook for us. There really is nothing like sharing a meal with those you love - especially ones with our friends.


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