Korean Bulgogi Bolognese Recipe (2024)



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I've investigated the matter of substituting gochujang for tomato paste. I have concluded that you can and you should.


Loved this with some adjustments to make it more Korean. I used 1/2 gochugang and 1/2 tomato paste and only about 2tbs of soy sauce, added a splash of mirin (and reduced sugar since mirin is sweet). I also used some of the pasta water to help make it more saucy. Finally, I garnished with some toasted sesame seeds.


We've made this about 5 times now, making little adjustments each time. Goldilocks for us was add a TBLof gochujang (replacing the tomato paste entirely with this was way to hot), reducing the sugar to 1 TBL (way too sweet with a 1/4 cup), cut the soy sauce to 1/2 cup, add about another cup of mushrooms, and a bit more of the celery and carrots just because we wanted a little more veggies in it. We also use ground turkey instead of beef. A real winner. This has become one of our regular meals!


YumChange to 1 Tbl tomato paste and 1 Tbl Gochujang1/2 cup soy sauce2 Tbl coconut sugar


I used 1/2 the amount of soy sauce, 2 tbsp Gochugang and 1 tbsp of tomato paste, a glug of Mirin, a splash of sesame oil and garnished with toasted sesame seeds. It was a scrumptious balance of east and west. Will surely cook again and again.


I used "Too Hot" Gochujang paste (which isn't really that hot), and the flavor was good, but the sodium content per Tbsp is higher than regular soy, so even with low sodium soy, I found it to be saltier than I like. Next time I'll use half Gochujang, half tomato paste. I also threw in a couple small, very ripe garden tomatoes for additional liquid, and might add more next time to make it saucier. I only used half the sugar called for; I thought the sweetness level was fine.


We’ve been enjoying this dish on the regular for more than a year with the following changes:2 tbsps gochugang2 tbsp tomato paste 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy saucesplash of mirin2 tbsp sugarA tsp or do of toasted sesame oilpasta water to help make it more saucyLast night, I decided to add a butter toasted panko breadcrumb topping with some gochugaru and toasted sesame seeds and WOW. So good.


Any thoughts about substituting Gochujang for tomato paste?


I made this dish as written (couldn’t find tagliatelle or paperadelle but used other wide egg noodles). It was very easy and the ingredients are easily found. My people weren’t crazy about the sweetness but that’s a matter of preference and not a flaw of the recipe. If you like that sweet-salty dichotomy, this is a good and filling dish.


I added red pepper flakes after the sugar and the heat glanced the sweetness. We really liked the dish.


I think this is becoming my new go-to “Bolognese” recipe! I really enjoyed the special touch the soy sauce, ginger and scallions added. I did use a tablespoon of gochujang, which was a great complement. Since I like heat, I’ll use more next time.

Josh Rai

The amount of soy sauce called for made this glaringly, overpoweringly salty for us. We liked this recipe overall, but if I make it again, I'll cut down on the soy sauce. Maybe replace some of it with water?


Use lower sodium soy. Kikkoman with the green top. That way you don’t dilute the “umami” flavor while reducing the overall salinity.


It would be best to cook the ground beef separately, drain off the fat, and then add the meat to the sautéed vegetables. Otherwise, all of that beef fat becomes part of your sauce! That’s what happened the first time I made this. My family liked the taste but remarked on the greasiness


Subs/ changes:1T gochugang sauce (possibly more)1T tomato pasteScallion-greens onlySoy- 1/3c1T brown sugar Add red pepper flakes to taste at end if not spicy enough

Boston pickle

Delicious but too sweet for our palate. I would cut the sugar down at least by half.


Thanks for the notes everyone! Yes to gochujang, less sugar and one can of diced tomatoes. Paired w broccoli rabe w sesame oil. Kids loved it.

lindsey g.

Really didn’t care for this one. Maybe I did something wrong but it just never got saucy. Just oil and meat and noodles, though good flavors, it didn’t feel like a cohesive dish. I won’t bother trying again.


I took the recommendation to use gochujang sauce for half of the tomato paste and it was delicious. I used more celery, less onion and served it over beans instead of pasta. Then I topped it with mozzarella and melted it all under the broiler. Incredibly delicious.


I’ve made this many times and it’s easy and delicious! This last time I omitted the mushrooms (added a little more ground beef) due to an allergy and it was still yummy.


Straightforward recipe; followed comments with the addition of gochujang. I found this dish to be on the sweet side, and I was craving some more oomph. More mushrooms perhaps? Some fish sauce did the trick for me.


Easy to make. Filling and provided the sweet salty texture the recipe described. I didn’t get the depth of flavor they talked about. I would make this again.


Be careful of salt level.


2 egg yolk at end


I didn't read the note about using low sodium soy sauce and used the full amount of regular soy sauce. Next time I will halve the amount at least, it was enough salt to kill me. I have to eat this bolognese over plain congee now bc of how salty it is. :(


My modified version of this recipe was so good. Skipped the tomato paste and sugar, and doubled the Gochujang because who wouldn't? Our Sunday was drizzly and cool, so we decided to make homemade pappardelle (with semolina flour) and picked a Northern Italian red from our cellar to pair with. Leftovers the following day were spectacular, too.


After veggies do rice wineAdd gochugang next timeBlend a bit next time


unexpectedly delicious recipe. omitted sugar, added 2 tbl gochujang (2tbl paste too)with addition feel like soy sauce could be lowered to 1/2 cup.


This meal was delicious! I pretty much followed Jodi's suggestions minus the sesame seed oil and it was superb!


Shoulda read the comments… will try gochujang next time! Half the sugar. All the shoyu. Add a generous drizzle of sesame oil and balsamic vinegar towards the end. Serve with kimchi and cheese.

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Korean Bulgogi Bolognese Recipe (2024)


What is Korean bulgogi sauce made of? ›

Mix some soy, apple juice and sugar in a sauce pan. Heat until the sugar melts. Mix in some ginger, garlic, green onions and sesame oil. Literally that's it.

What cut of meat is best for Korean bulgogi? ›

Boneless ribeye steak is our cut of choice for this recipe and the most popular because it is tender and flavorful with nice marbling. Sirloin is also commonly used to make bulgogi and is slightly leaner that ribeye. You can also use flank steak in a pinch with good results, but the texture won't be quite as tender.

What does bulgogi mean in Korean? ›

Bulgogi (불고기) is the name of a Korean dish, literally translating to “fire meat.” This famous Korean dish has existed for thousands of years, and it is now gaining popularity in Western countries like the United States and Canada.

What do Koreans eat with bulgogi? ›

Steamed rice is a staple in Korean cuisine and serves as a neutral base that complements the rich flavors of the Korean beef. The fluffy and slightly sticky texture of the rice helps to balance the bold taste of the marinated beef, creating a harmonious and satisfying meal.

What are the three types of bulgogi? ›

noodles—mixed into the brothy sauce. bulgogi memories. There are three main regional styles of bulgogi: Gwangyang, Eonyang, and Seoul.

Why does bulgogi taste so good? ›

Beef Bulgogi is crazy tender and juicy seeping with mildly sweet, savory, smoky flavors from the soy, sesame, garlic, ginger marinade. It is intensely flavorful, and tantalizingly delicious. This Bulgogi cooks super fast, so once your steak is done marinating, it's 15 minutes to dinner!

How long should you marinate bulgogi? ›

Add the thinly sliced beef, thinly sliced onions, and green onions. Mix and marinate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Over high heat, add a tbsp of oil to a pan. Cook the beef bulgogi in batches until the water cooks out and the beef and onions are nicely caramelized, about 4-5 minutes.

Why do Koreans eat bulgogi? ›

From 1910 to 1945, Korea was under Japanese rule, and serious beef shortages swept the nation. As a result, beef prices soared, and the prominence of the bulgogi dish waned. By the 1990s, however, the dish's popularity rebounded. It is collectively known as one of the most popular foods in Korea today.

What is bulgogi vs bibimbap? ›

Bulgogi is a simpler dish than bibimbap while bibimbap is a bit more wholesome, with vegetables and an extra kick from gochujang. The way the beef for each dish is prepared varies as well, with both dishes sporting beef cooking in a particular way that can't really be swapped for the other.

What is bibimbap in English? ›

Bibimbap (/ˈbiːbɪmbæp/ BEE-bim-bap; Korean: 비빔밥; lit. mixed rice; Korean pronunciation: [pi. bim. p͈ap̚]), sometimes romanized as bi bim bap or bi bim bop, is a Korean rice dish.

What's the difference between bulgogi and galbi? ›

Galbi meat comes from the short rib and is presented with the bone on (more on this in a minute). Bulgogi is a lean, tender cut of steak which might come from the rib eye just above the short rib, or maybe a fillet, sirloin or flank steak.

What vegetables go well with bulgogi? ›

Vegetable options

You can add some of your favorite vegetables while cooking bulgogi and make it a perfectly balanced meal. I added mushrooms and carrots in the recipe. Bok choy is another favorite of mine. Green cabbage, chili peppers, broccoli, bell peppers are all good options as well.

Can I use apple instead of pear for bulgogi? ›

If you live near a Korean grocery store, you can pick up presliced beef (look for Korean BBQ beef); if you're cutting the meat yourself, freeze it for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour for easier slicing. Traditional bulgogi marinade calls for puréed or grated fruit such as kiwi, apple, or pear.

What does Korean bulgogi sauce taste like? ›

What does bulgogi sauce taste like? Bulgogi sauce is considered being the BBQ sauce of Asian and Korean cuisine. It's sweet, smoky, and slightly tangy, and has a subtle spice hit thanks to the chili sauce. In many Korean restaurants, they actually serve this as a dipping sauce too!

Is bulgogi sauce same as BBQ sauce? ›

It is sweet and savory and adds a vibrant flavor to any dish. Meishi Bulgogi sauce is a Korean style BBQ sauce for BBQs and grilling. Its an Ideal addition to your marinades or stir-fry's and makes a superb dipping sauce for burger and nuggets.

What does Korean bulgogi taste like? ›

This Korean BBQ Beef is super tender, flavorful, easy to prep, and cooks in just minutes. This marinade is everything I love most about Asian flavors: soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onions, sesame oil, sesame seeds and sugar for sweetness.

Is bulgogi sauce the same as teriyaki? ›

Bulgogi is a sweet, salty beef dish that is comparable to teriyaki but much more rich and flavorful. Whereas teriyaki is solely sweetened with sugar, bulgogi relies also on fruit sugar to add an extra depth of flavor.


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