Cooking Challenge – Korean Lettuce-Wrapped Beef

By / Food / September 26th, 2011 / Like

The Tidings Cooking Challenge is an opportunity for food lovers to try their hand at creating something together. Not all in the same kitchen, of course. Rather, try the recipe in your own time and then come back and tell us what you thought of it. You can add your comments directly underneath the post, or send a photo of your creation to [email protected].

What makes beef Korean? Typically, Korean meat dishes are flavoured with a combination of spicy red pepper, green onion, soy sauce, bean paste (hoisin sauce), garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, mustard, vinegar and rice wine. No wonder Korean food is so tasty. A weeknight Korean meal might consist of three or four dishes that would be shared by each member of the family. Soup, made with beef, pork or chicken bones purchased from a butcher, is often served as well. Although, each person will eat from his or her own bowl. All of the ingredients that make up the fundamental flavours of Korean cuisine are pantry basics that you probably have in your kitchen already. That’s partly why Korean food is so popular. It’s quick and easy to make without forcing you to run out and buy special ingredients that are likely to sit around for months (or years!) until you make that dish again. The best part, other than that Korean dishes taste so good, is that they’re healthy. Use sodium-reduced soy sauce and bean paste if you’re worried about that. Otherwise, the use of lots of fresh vegetables in this cuisine will no doubt pump up your good health quotient.

Korean Lettuce-Wrapped Beef

Serves 4 as an appetizer. Serve warm Korean Beef spooned into individual Bibb lettuce leaves.

1 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup rice wine
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 heads Boston lettuce
Garnish: chopped sweet red pepper, shredded carrot, chopped cucumber, thinly sliced green onions and mint leaves

1. Cook ground beef in a large pan over medium heat until brown; stirring occasionally and breaking it into small pieces. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté until soft.
2. Add rice wine; cook until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Add beef broth, hoisin sauce and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Combine ingredients in large skillet. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until beef has completely cooked through.
3. Separate, wash and dry lettuce leaves. Place one to two tablespoons of beef mixture on each lettuce leaf. Allow diners to add their own garnishes.

Serve with Korean beer. If you can’t find that try it with Japanese beer or a glass of Pinot Noir.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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