Dinner Rush! Spicy Korean Beef Lettuce Cups

By: Patrick Decker

Those of you that read my blog know that I love a grocery store. Some people have shoes or gadgets or lotions and potions. Not me. I’ve got the dairy case, cheese counter and friendly deli staff. Since this is my drug, and guilty indulgence is imminent with every visit, I’ve amassed a pantry full of random odds and ends, all of which I clearly need to have. The spoils of this most recent visit? Fresh-packed kimchi.

Kimchi is a spicy condiment made of fermented cabbage with other vegetables. It is an essential staple of the Korean diet and also boasts a ton of health benefits as a result of being a probiotic. The off-putting-to-some smell shouldn’t deter you from experiencing its hot, sour, salty and sweet balance that is surprisingly versatile across several different types of cuisine.

Taking some inspiration from classic Korean flavors, this dish is a bit of a riff on beef bulgogi. A classic in Korean barbecue houses, bulgogi is a simple presentation in which slices of beef are marinated in a sweet blend of soy sauce, sugar, garlic and sesame oil and then seared or grilled. The service is often an elaborate DIY spread with my different condiments, rice and leafy greens available to package all of the flavors together.

The point of this whole story?  Next time you’re out shopping try and pick up just one new thing. You might just end up surprising yourself.

Spicy Korean Beef Lettuce Cups
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

For the sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Half of a bartlet or Asian pear, seeded and grated (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, grated
1-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
1 pound lean beef sirloin steak, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon sesame oil

For serving:
1 1/2 cups kimchi
3 scallions, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
8 to 12 leaves butter lettuce
8 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved or quartered
Sriracha, optional

In a small bowl stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce.  Pour half of the sauce into a shallow baking dish or zipper lock bag and reserve the other half in a serving dish.  Add the beef to the baking dish or zipper lock bag and toss to coat.  Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

While the beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables and condiments for serving.

Place a large sauté pan over high heat with the sesame oil.  Sear the strips of marinated beef in the pan until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Serve the beef with the prepared vegetables, condiments and reserved sauce.  Prepare lettuce cups by filling a piece of butter lettuce with a few slices of beef and a bit of each of the vegetables, condiments and sauce.

COOK’S NOTE:  If the idea of a lettuce cup doesn’t leave you feeling 100% satisfied, add 2 cups of steamed white rice to the mix.  Place a scoop in the bottom of each lettuce cup before piling on the fillings.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram at  @patrickwdecker  or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com .

Keep Reading

Next Up

KFC Russia Embraces the Chopstick With New Teriyaki Menu

KFC Russia has a new Japan-influenced menu, which features teriyaki-flavored chicken and chopsticks.

Dinner Rush! Korean-Style Brussels Sprouts with Marinated Skirt Steak

What's for dinner tonight? Cooking Channel's recipe for easy Korean-style Brussels sprouts with marinated skirt steak.

Dinner Rush! Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Tacos

These quick and easy chicken tacos with chorizo make a spicy yet simple weeknight meal.

Dinner Rush! Jumbo Stuffed Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Ramp up the standard meatball with these gigantic stuffed meatballs, which are the perfect holiday party food.

Dinner Rush! Beef Stroganoff with Herbed Potatoes

Craving something beefy and stewy? This easy 30-minute stovetop stroganoff is just the cure you've been searching for.

Dinner Rush! Hummus Plate with Spiced Ground Beef

Get Cooking Channel's quick and easy weeknight hummus recipe.

On TV

Siba's Table

7:30am | 6:30c

Siba's Table

8:30am | 7:30c

Siba's Table

9:30am | 8:30c

Unique Eats

10am | 9c

Unique Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Unique Eats

11am | 10c

Unique Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Eats

12pm | 11c

Unique Eats

12:30pm | 11:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

1:30pm | 12:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

2:30pm | 1:30c

Man Fire Food

3:30pm | 2:30c

Man Fire Food

4:30pm | 3:30c

Man Fire Food

5:30pm | 4:30c

Man Fire Food

6:30pm | 5:30c

Man Fire Food

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Man Fire Food

8pm | 7c

Man Fire Food

8:30pm | 7:30c

Man Fire Food

9:30pm | 8:30c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Man Fire Food

12am | 11c

Man Fire Food

12:30am | 11:30c

Man Fire Food

1am | 12c

Man Fire Food

1:30am | 12:30c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Sundays 8|7c

Pick a Side!

The Snackdown

In our new animated series, we debate the most-pressing food matters of our time, like is cereal a soup?

So Much Pretty Food Here