This is exactly the kind of food that I grew up with. I remember fondly my Grandmother wrapping beef, Korean hot pepper paste, and rice in a neatly folded lettuce cup and handing it over to me to eat. She knew that my little hands wouldn't be able to put the lettuce cups together so she always did it for me. To this day whenever I make this style of food I'm always reminded of the big family dinners we all had when I was little. With my little girl growing inside of me I'll be sure to introduce her someday to the wonderful world of Korean cuisine starting with these lettuce wraps.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb steak (1 inch thick)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Korean Gochuchang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup baby carrots, sliced in half
  • cooked warm white rice (2 medium bowls full)
  • 1 head of leafy lettuce, washed thoroughly

Sour Cabbage:

  • half a head of savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thirds lengthways, then cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • white vinegar (start with 1/4 cup then taste before adding more)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Take the steak and place it into a big ziploc bag. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame seed oil, grated garlic, ginger, pepper, brown sugar, and Korean gochuchang. Pour the marinade into the ziploc bag with the steak and let it marinade for a good hour before cooking.

2. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high, then place the steak onto the skillet and make sure to pour the rest of the marinade as well. Sear both sides of the steak, then add about 1/4 cup of water, the sliced onion and baby carrots. Place a lid onto the skillet and drop the heat back to a low for a gentle simmer. Cook for a good 45-50 minutes or until fork tender. Depending on what type of steak you buy it may be a shorter or longer cooking time.

3. Meantime, cook the rice in the rice cooker or on the stovetop and wash the lettuce leaves thoroughly in cold water. In a large salad bowl, toss together the shredded cabbage, cucumber, red cabbage, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in about 1/4 cup of white vinegar and the vegetable oil. Toss to combine then taste. The coleslaw should be a bit tangy and sour in flavour, almost like it's being pickled. Add a bit more vinegar if not tangy enough. Place it into the fridge until you're ready to serve.

4. Once the steak is done, let it rest for a minute then start to cut the meat into strips small enough to fit into the lettuce wraps. Serve the rice, coleslaw, lettuce and steak separately on a plate. If you like things more spicy like me then place a spoonful of the Korean gochuchang on the plate so you can smear a bit onto the rice in the lettuce wraps. Assemble each lettuce wrap and eat!

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