One of the very first things my mother ever taught me to make in the kitchen was her Korean barbecue marinade—i.e., the liquid gold you soak your meats and vegetables in before grilling them. Absolutely bursting with umami and garlicky goodness, I like to keep a jar on hand at all times. It’s so simple to make and I often use it in place of soy sauce for many recipes. While it’s great as a marinade, you can also use it as a base for a sauce that is delicious with hearty dishes like Galbi or Bulgogi. “Sauce-ifying” the marinade is very easy, and I have jars of the sauce version in my refrigerator at all times, too!
Omma’s Korean BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 red onion, cut into chunks
- 3 scallions, trimmed
- 8-9 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or your preferred sweetener)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1/2 cup rough-chopped Korean pear or apple
- 1/2 cup rough-chopped red bell pepper
- 1 knob fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Mushroom Dashi or water
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- Make the marinade: In a high-powered blender, combine the red onion, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, brown rice syrup, rice vinegar, mirin, Korean pear, bell pepper, ginger, sesame oil, and pepper and blend until smooth and frothy.
- Make the sauce: Transfer the marinade to a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the liquid until reduced by about one-third, about 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the mushroom dashi into the potato starch to create a slurry. Gradually stir the slurry into the cooking marinade and continue stirring until the sauce thickens.
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and let it cool (allowing it to thicken a little more). Once cooled, store it in the refrigerator for use inthe next several days or freeze it for future use.