Friday 27 April 2018

Forkful's easy suppers: Korean steak tacos

Korean steak tachos. Photo: Mark Duggan
Korean steak tachos. Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

Korean food is fermented, spicy, fresh and delicious. If you're looking to try it out for yourself, two of my favourites are Kimchi at The Hop House on Parnell Street in Dublin, and Miso Sushi in Sligo. Both places also do sushi well, but it's their bibambaps and bulgogis that get me going.

If you haven't gotten yourself a pack of gochujang yet from your local Asian food market, now is the time. It's a fermented chilli paste, and it will live quite happily in your fridge for a couple of weeks. It's certainly possible to make your own gochujang but it takes a little bit of a time investment. I must admit I haven't tried it myself yet.

Korean-born California-based blogger JinJoo at Kimchimari explains that gochujang is most commonly made in Korean homes between the months of November and February, so that a four to six-month fermentation period can happen before the hot and rainy Korean summer. Find her recipe for homemade gochujang at

But until the day when we're ready to invest in making our own fermented chilli paste, we'll have to make do with the shop-bought version. It's an essential ingredient in the success of this week's speedy supper, which are the stupendously delicious Korean steak tacos.

I whipped together a sauce from the gochujang, fried up a really good piece of steak and served on the proper corn tortillas I picked up at Picado Mexican on South Richmond Street, Dublin 2. You can get them online at It's not pictured, but I usually add a runny fried egg to this dish, for peak comfort food performance.


Korean steak tacos

Serves 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


For the Korean BBQ sauce

1 tablespoon of gochujang paste

1 and a half tablespoons of mirin

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Juice of half a lime

For the steak

1 large steak

Salt & pepper

To serve

2 corn tortillas

2 fried eggs (optional, but delicious)

2 tablespoons of Cultured Kitchen's kimchi

1 spring onion, finely chopped

2 fresh radishes, sliced


1. Start by making the sauce. Mix together the gochujang, mirin, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Heat some olive or vegetable oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Season the steak with plenty of salt and pepper. When the pan is really hot, fry the steak for 4 minutes on each side. Remove the pan from the heat and let the steak rest in the pan as it cools down for a further 10 minutes. This will give you a lovely medium-rare steak.

3. Warm the corn tortillas by giving them a short blast in a hot oven before placing them on two serving plates.

4. Finely slice the steak and divide between the two plates. You can add the fried eggs here, if using. Top with a generous drizzle of your sauce, alongside a sprinkling of kimchi and spring onions. Serve the radishes and the leftover sauce on the side.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Kimchi: Another great Korean tradition is Kimchi, a fermented cabbage which is much yummier than it sounds. You should check out the fantastic Dublin-based food company Cultured Kitchen, whose kimchi is stocked in selected shops in Dublin, Wicklow and Meath. Visit their website to find out more.

Irish Independent

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