You can spend your life chasing the dream of the Korean Taco Truck on twitter, or you can just make them yourself. This version is super quick and you can be the master of your own destiny by either choosing to make tacos with flour tortillas or a lighter version that uses lettuce at the tortilla. A few years ago I posted about the Kogi truck in LA and it’s unforgettable kimchi quesadilla. Kimchi quesadillas are now a regular in my kitchen- as a late night snack or as the start of a more elaborate meal.
In this version of Korean tacos, Gochujang pepper paste is going to be your flavor base. You can get a tub of the stuff at ANY Korean, Japanese or Chinese market. It’s a beautiful ingredient, a shiny bright red paste that ranges from spicy to flaming hot. I go through a tub of this stuff every six months as it adds a smoky-sweet spiciness to whatever it goes on. In this case, it’s coating thin slices of strip steak.
Korean Tacos with Gochujang Salsa
Makes 2 servings
You will need:
¾ lb. skirt steak
4 Tablespoons Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
6 small flour tortillas (or use 2 cups cooked sushi rice in lettuce wraps)
6 leaves of lettuce such as Boston
3 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts (the bean sprouts sold in most grocery stores)
1 small yellow onion
½ cup kimchee
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
1 teaspoon cooking oil such as canola oil
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup store-bought fresh red salsa (or 1 large tomato, 2 Tablespoons chopped onion and 1 Tablespoon parsley)
1. Slice the meat into 3 inch x 1 inch strips and slice the onion into rings. Combine (using your fingers) with red pepper paste, ½ teaspoon sugar, 2 Tablespoons sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon soy sauce. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and if possible overnight.
2. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a medium-seized pot. Cook the mung bean sprouts in the boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain the sprouts like you would pasta and toss together with 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon sugar, a pinch of salt and 1 Tablespoon soy sauce in a small bowl.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of canola in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Using kitchen tongs or working carefully with a wooden spoon, evenly place the meat and onion in the pan so that each piece of meat lays flat. The meat will splatter so use caution. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes then carefully flip each piece and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Transfer to a plate along with the onions.
4. In a blender or food processor, pulse the salsa and 1 Tablespoon Gochujang paste to make a velvety liquid.
5. To make each taco place the tortilla on a plate and using the back of a spoon, spread a small dollop of Gochujang(about ¼ teaspoon) all over the tortilla. Place 1 piece of lettuce on top as though you were assembling a hamburger. Next add 2 slices of meat and fried onions and 2 Tablespoons of bean sprouts on top. Add a few pieces of kimchi and sprinkle with scallions. Dip into the Gochujang salsa.
OR: If you don’t want to use tortillas, use the lettuce as the shell and make a batch of sushi rice to eat with it.