4 to 6 servings
Thinly sliced Korean barbecue is piled into lettuce wraps and served with fresh and pickled vegetables. Making the marinade and slicing the beef take just 15 minutes the night before, and the beef can marinate for 1 to 24 hours, whatever works best with your schedule. You might want to invest a little more time and make a double batch, because the marinated beef freezes beautifully, which means that you can have an almost instant home-cooked meal when you want to serve the dish again.
Either way, it’s a fast and flavorful alternative to more familiar preparations, one that cooks in less time than it takes to set the table.
For the marinade
2 tablespoons Korean chili powder or red pepper flakes
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, or more to taste
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
For the wraps
12–18 Bibb lettuce leaves
About 1/2 cup Chinese black bean paste (optional)
Cooked white rice
Thinly sliced peeled carrots
Thinly sliced peeled daikon radish
Store-bought kimchi or sliced sour pickles
To make the marinade: Combine all the ingredients except the scallions in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the scallions. Adjust the sugar and/or soy sauce to taste if necessary.
Slice the short ribs across the grain into thin strips, about ¹⁄³ inch thick. Stir the beef into the marinade and mix well. (The beef can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours, or frozen for up to 1 month.)
Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking. In a large nonstick skillet, sear the meat, in batches, over high heat, 1 to 2 minutes on each side until browned and medium-rare.
To assemble the wraps: Spread each lettuce leaf with a small amount of bean paste, if using. Fill with some rice, vegetables, kimchi, and beef, fold into a package, arrange on a platter, and serve.