The plate on the right has already been munched upon

Here’s the recipe that won me 2nd place and W1,000,000. I’m putting measurements here, but you really need to taste and adjust as you go.

Bulgogi Quesadillas with Smoky Gochujang Aioli and Korean Pear Salsa


600g Beef Chuck, thinly sliced (tell the Korean butcher you want it “bulgogi yong”)
1 Korean pear, peeled and cored
1 White Onion, chopped
1 TBS Fresh Ginger, minced
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Mirim (or Mirin, rice cooking wine)
1/4 cup or more Starch Syrup (Corn Syrup, Rice Syrup)
2 TBS Sesame Oil
1 White Onion, sliced thinly

  • Puree the Korean pear, chopped onion  in a blender.
  • Add the liquid ingredients and taste. It should be fairly sweet. When you think it’s sweet enough, add a little more starch syrup.
  • Add the beef and mix thoroughly. Hands work best.
  • Marinate for 45 minutes.
  • Cook the beef and sliced onions on medium high until much of the liquid has evaporated.

Korean Pear Salsa

1 Korean Pear, peeled, cored and minced
1 Red Onion, minced
3 Korean Chillies or Jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 Sesame Leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon
Pinch of Salt

  • Combine all the ingredients and adjust for taste. It should be slightly fruity and acidic with a good bit of heat to back it up.

Smoky Gochujang Aioli

1 Egg Yolk
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
Pinch of Salt
1/2 to 1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Gochujang
1 TBS Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Starch Syrup

  • Put the egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a bowl and blend with a beater.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while blending. This will take a while. Be patient. I drip it in a bit at a time and let it mix. When it starts getting some firmness and volume, you can increase the stream. The goal is to make it thick like a mayonnaise.
  • Gently fold in the gochujang. Taste and adjust.
  • Add the smoked paprika. Taste and adjust.
  • Add the starch syrup. In the end you want something sweet and smoky with some good spicy bite with some brightness from the lemon and a hint of garlic.

Bulgogi Quesadillas

Bulgogi (recipe above)
Shredded Cheese (mozzarella, pepper jack, cheddar or any good melting cheese)
Smoky Gochujang Aioli (recipe above)
Oil for sauteeing
Korean Pear Salsa (recipe above)
3 Sesame Leaves

  • Lay down a tortilla and lightly sprinkle it with cheese.
  • Place the bulgogi meat on top of the cheese.
  • Add a little smoky gochujang aioli.
  • Sprinkle a little more cheese and cover with another tortilla.
  • Preheat the oil in a skillet on medium high.
  • Cook the quesadilla until golden on both sides and the cheese has melted.
  • Cut into quarters or eighths.
  • Remove the stems off the sesame leaves and roll them tightly like a cigar. Slice them into thin ribbons (chiffonade).
  • Serve with Korean pear salsa and more smoky gochujang aioli on the side. Sprinkle the sesame leaf ribbons on as garnish.

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