Guest Post: Mushroom Bulgogi by The Yum Yum Factor

We have a guest in the kitchen! We’re happy to welcome back Carole of The Yum Yum Factor who is sharing a popular Korean favourite, with a vegetarian twist. Give this variation a try and it may be a new favourite in your home too!

I am constantly looking for vegetarian options of my favourite dishes to serve to my non-meat-eating people, that don’t leave them feel like they are missing out on anything. Mushrooms are always my first, go-to meat replacement because they are one of the few ingredients that retain a nice, meaty texture and they taste delicious. That is so important because it means that they don’t change the spirit of most meat based dishes and in many cases, they actually improve upon them.

With that in mind, I set out to come up with a vegetarian version of bulgogi, one of the most popular dishes in both South and North Korea. Because it is typically made with thinly sliced, marinated beef or pork that are then either grilled or stir fried, I turned, once again, to my trusty friend, the mushroom. As always, they did not let me down.

We like to go meatless at least a couple times a week but the food must be not only delicious, but hearty enough for my guys or they will happily eat dinner and then go out for a burger an hour later. I would say this Mushroom Bulgogi certainly fits the bill on all counts.

Mushroom Bulgogi
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Marinate: 1 hour | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Serves 4-6

454 grams (1 lb) of white button mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup soy sauce
2.5 tbsp. of rice syrup, corn syrup or honey
2 tbsp. mirin
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. grated garlic (I used 5 cloves)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 small pear, finely grated 1/2 red onion, finely grated 10 grinds black pepper

2-3 tbsp. canola or grapeseed oil
1/2 large red onion, sliced 1/4” slices 1 carrot, julienned
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 slices ginger, finely chopped
1 small Asian eggplant, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced small pinch kosher salt
200g (7oz) enoki mushrooms

optional garnishes: cilantro, scallion, sesame seeds, hot sauce

1. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients – if you don’t want to finely grate everything, you can throw it all in the blender and mix it until it’s smooth – we don’t want chunks in there. Toss the mushrooms with the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least an hour to marinate.
2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large pan and when it’s hot, throw in the onion slices. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until starting to get brown spots. Add in the garlic and ginger, stir fry for about 30 seconds before adding in the eggplant and carrot with a small pinch of kosher salt and cook that for 5 minutes.
3. Remove the eggplant and onion to a bowl and add another tbsp. oil to the hot pan. Start cooking the mushrooms in batches, removing them with a slotting spoon so that you are leaving the marinade behind, until they get nicely browned and remove them, as you go, to the bowl with the eggplant and onion. Keep drizzling in about 1/2 tbsp. of oil with each batch of mushrooms, reserving the marinade left behind.
4. When the mushrooms are all cooked, throw the contents of the bowl back into the hot pan. Give it a good stir and then add in the reserved marinade, letting it come to a boil and then throw in the enoki mushrooms and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.
5. Serve the Bulgogi over steamed rice and garnish with a bit of cilantro, chopped scallion, sesame seeds and/or some hot sauce if you like.

Let your tastebuds travel! Even meat-eaters will adore the intense depth of flavour that this Korean classic has! A big thanks, as always, to Carole for sharing such a fabulous recipe.
Be sure to follow along with Carole at The Yum Yum Factor and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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