These Korean beef stew tacos are so delicious that Speedy and I had three each. Small six-inch tortillas, actually. BUT STILL. How should I describe the experience? As you bite, the first thing you get is the slight crunch of the lettuce. But the first real taste is of the savory beef, sweet, salty and spicy at the same time. Then, the sudden sharpness of the red onions mixing with the sesame seeds. Finally, the indescribable flavors of the cilantro. There’s a reason why it is my favorite herb and there’s not even a close second.
Where did the idea for the Korean beef stew tacos come from?
About two weeks ago, we ditched our Dream Satellite TV subscription and shifted to Cignal TV. The difference? Lots of HD Channels on Cignal, including Food Network. Dream Satellite does not even carry Food Network although it has the Travel and Living Channel (TLC). I was sorry to let TLC go, it was where I saw Anthony Bourdain once a week, but Dream Satellite was airing shows that were over five years old. So, there.
As a result of the change in satellite TV provider, I’ve been watching more TV these days. I think I watched more TV over the past two weeks than I have over the two months previous to that. I’m more than watching — I’m devouring. It’ll pass, I’m sure. But, right now, I’m picking up a lot of ideas. Like the cheesesteak sandwich, for instance, and the fancy presentation for the chicken salad.
It was also from the Food Network that I learned about Kogi BBQ, a food truck selling a weird fusion food (Korean and Mexican adapted for the American palate) in the Los Angeles area. Korean short rib tacos. It must have been a bit dated because according to Kogi BBQ website, there are now five trucks and a sit-down restaurant as well.
Now, about the tacos. The filling is grilled short ribs that had been marinated. And I thought of Korean short ribs beef stew. For anyone who has never heard nor tried Korean beef stew before, using it for a taco filling might sound too darn strange. Unpalatable even. But for someone who has cooked and eaten Korean beef stew before, I knew it would work. In my head, I knew I’d have to have some caramelization happen, I had an idea as to how to go about it… Still, there’s nothing like actually doing it. So, I did. Last night, for dinner.
Korean beef stew tacos (a.k.a. my version of Kogi BBQ's short-rib tacos)
- 2 cups cooked Korean beef stew (get the recipe), drained and roughly chopped
- 1 red onion chopped
- 3 finger chilies chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil
- 1/2 cup Korean beef stew sauce
- 6 pieces 6-inch flour tortillas
- 6 to 8 romaine lettuce leaves thinly sliced
- 2 red onions thinly sliced
- 6 tablespoons onion leaves finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- a small bunch of cilantro torn into small pieces
- In a frying pan, heat the sesame and vegetable oils.
- Add the chopped onion and chilies and cook just until fragrant.
- Add the beef. Cook, stirring, until the meat has soaked up the oil.
- Pour in the sauce. Cook over high heat, uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture is quite dry. This step is to allow the flavors to concentrate and to let the sauce caramelize a bit.
- Assemble the tacos.
- Toast the tortillas in an oil-free pan.
- Lay a taco on a plate. Cover with lettuce. Pile on the beef. Add red onions. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and onion leaves. Finally, add some cilantro.
- Fold the Korean beef stew taco and bite. Utterly delicious.