I started buying packaged bulgogi from Trader Joe's about a year ago and it has become one of our favorite go-to dinners. We love kimchi so much, and pile it high on the plate alongside a modest amount of the seasoned beef and white rice. I swear we could go through a few pounds of kimchi every week without even trying. We've tried to find other kinds of bulgogi in different Asian shops, but haven't been able to find an alternative to Trader Joe's (which is kind of expensive) that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup. D kept suggesting that we could probably make it ourselves, and I don't know why I was so intimidated. Not only was it easy, it was actually deeply satisfying to make. Rubbing the meat with brown sugar and then mushy kiwi was an almost sensual experience. Even now as I write, I can still smell the sesame oil and garlic on my fingers.
I found this recipe on Epicurious, of course. That website never lets me down. The following is an adaptation of the recipe, which unmodified is probably very good.
1 1/4 lb skirt steak, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablepoons tamari
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine (sake)
Pinch of black pepper
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 fresh kiwi, juiced in a blender
Juice the kiwi--it's okay if its just in little pieces. It's probably better if it's not completely juiced. Trim the fat off the beef with a sharp knife. Rub the sugar evenly into each piece of the beef. Allow beef to sit for at least 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds, sake, and black pepper. Put aside. Massage the beef with the kiwi using your hands. The kiwi works as a tenderizer. Add the soy sauce mixture and mix. Allow the beef to marinate for 10 minutes, and then pack closely into a plastic bag. Pop it in the fridge and it will be awesome in a day or so. When you're ready to prepare it, just heat up a wok or a cast iron pan with oil until smoking. Cook the meat directly from the bag quickly until browned, being careful not to overcook. Serve either over or to the side of white rice, with a generous side of kimchi. We've found that pickled mangoes on the side are a nice accompaniment, too.