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Beef with Eggplant, This is not a stir-fry!

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May 3, 2011

Beef with Eggplant, This is not a stir-fry!

Korean foods are well known for its healthiness. 
It is not only because we do eat lots of vegetables with meal but also the cooking method we use to prepare the dish.

Stir-fry is perhaps one of the most popular cooking method in any Asian cuisine (of course Koreans do use that method in various dishes) but it is not the most common or popular way in Korean cooking to be honest with you.
"Muchim (무침)" is a skill to master in order to understand the Korean cooking.
Muchim involves some steaming and serious tossing, therefore no oil is necessary to cook the ingredients yet creates wonderful flavor balance without adding the extra fat in the dish.
 So here is one dish that I would like to share with you.
This is NOT a stir-fry. There is no oil involved in cooking process except a tiny bit of sesame oil for flavoring the dish.
Then how did I cook the beef and eggplant? We shall see...


 Here are your helpers of the day.
Beef (I used sirloin tip), Asian eggplant, green onion, red and/or green chili(optional), garlic, Korea soy sauce, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and pepper, and rice wine (I forgot to add on the photo)

 Slice beef into 1/4" matchsticks.

Toss beef with soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, pepper, and sesame oil. Set aside to marinade.

Now, cut eggplants.
Cut into 4 section and slice each section into 4-8 wedges depends on the thickness.
Important: It has to be Asian eggplants. They are slender and longer than Italian or other kind and very tender when cooked.

Steam your eggplants for 5-7 minutes until soft and tender. They will change color slightly.
Transfer them to a mixing bowl. DO NOT RINSE!

Meanwhile slice your green onions and chilies. I like to add chilies (seeded). I like things with extra kick!

Dump the green onion and chilies in the mixing bowl with eggplants.

Now, let's cook up the beef.
Heat your skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the beef and just toss until they are brown, about 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook.
Remember, NO OIL is needed! They will cook in their own marinade.

Quickly add the beef in the bowl with eggplants green onions. The heat from the beef will wilt the green onions to be soft. Add Korean soy sauce, more sesame oil and my secret ingredient, the shrimp powder (optional).
Now, Use your hand and start tossing as if your are gently massaging them all around. This technique is called "Muchim".  The Korean way of tossing things to flavor ingredients with seasoning.

I had these 깻잎, Kkaetnip, the paella leaves (aka sesame leaves) as garnish. This will add a wonderful fragrance to the dish. Their fragrance is like between basil and mint, yet unique on its own.
You don't have to if you can' find them. But adding some fresh mint would be a nice touch.

Looking for quick yet healthy dinner with hint of Asian touch?
Don't mind eggplants?
Then this is the dish for you.
Just a hot bowl of brown rice and Kimchee on the side is all you need.

Taste awesome,
Feel even more awesome,
Life is good...

Beef with Eggplants
(소고기 가지무침, sogogi gaji muchim)
makes 2-4 servings

2 Asian eggplants
1/4 lb beef sirloin tip, cut into 1/4" matchsticks
4 green onions, cut into 2" slices
1-2 red and/or green chilies, seeded and sliced, optional
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil, divided
1 Tbsp Korean soy sauce, or 1 tsp fish sauce
dashes of black pepper, freshly grounded
1/2 tsp shrimp powder, optional 
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
paella (sesame) leaves for garnish, optional

In a bowl combine beef slices with soy sauce, sugar, rice wine and 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Toss well and set aside to marinade.
Cut eggplants into 4 sections lengthwise. Cut each section into 4-8 wedges depends on the thickness. Put them in a steamer and steam for 5-7 minutes until soft and tender.
Place hot eggplants in a large mixing bowl and add the green onion and chilies on top. Set aside.
Heat skillet over medium-high until very hot. Add the beef and toss to cook them until brown, about 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook the beef. Add the beef into the mixing bowl with eggplants and green onions. The heat from the beef will wilt the green onions. 
Add the 1 tsp sesame oil, Korean soy sauce, pepper, sesame seeds, and shrimp powder (optional but adds very nice flavor) to the mixture. Using your hand, toss them together while gently massaging them around. This will help to soak the seasoning into the ingredients.
Serve warm with rice and kimchee on the side. You are good to go!

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At May 3, 2011 at 10:29 AM , Anonymous Erica S. said...

this looks really good! and i have not yet made any kind of muchim before--so i should really try this out!

At May 3, 2011 at 2:10 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Hi Erica

I hope you can give it a try. It is really easy to make and the dish is very

At May 3, 2011 at 7:09 PM , Anonymous julie {chef julie yoon} said...

This looks great. I love recipes like this! Beef and eggplant make a great combo.


At May 3, 2011 at 7:29 PM , Blogger Smoky Wok (formerly Tastes of Home) said...

I love this! Totally delicious and also quite simple to make :) Thanks for sharing!

At May 4, 2011 at 4:17 PM , Anonymous lee shu-han said...

I never knew about this 'muchim' method! it sounds really interesting i'll try this next time instead of stirfrying!

At May 11, 2011 at 6:17 AM , Anonymous Mai said...

I love eggplants. Can't wait to try this recipe!

At May 11, 2011 at 7:11 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...


Thanks. Hope you like it...

At July 19, 2011 at 5:07 AM , Anonymous Jen said...

When do you add the garlic?

At July 21, 2011 at 2:39 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...


I guess I missed the garlic part in the tutorial. Add the chopped
garlic with beef during marinade and cook together later.



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