I was thinking about baby names the other day. No, I’m not pregnant or anything (wedding first), but I was just imagining what kind of name I would give my future bundle of joy, should I be so blessed to have him / her one day … and I remembered how much I love the name “Koji” for a boy. It’s a very typical Japanese boy’s name but I love its simplicity. It’s pronounced “Koh-Jee.” It even sounds a little like food, like “congee.”
Then I realized that it is a food name, as in Kogi taco truck. I still don’t know if “Kogi” is pronounced “Koh-jee” or “Ko-ghee” but it’s way too close. Talk about my childhood dream being crushed. I don’t think I have the guts to subject my future baby to be picked on in school because he sounds like a galbi wrapped in tortilla sold in a back of the roach coach.
Name or no name, the concept of mixing delicious Korean BBQ and giving it the Mexican street-food feel is just genius. I’ve only had its famous taco once when it first lit the fire on America’s food truck fascination but it’s definitely something that I can get used to. Good thing these tacos are really easy to make at home and you don’t have to chase the truck around town for some good eats.
Korean Beef Marinade
For about 8 – 10 ounces of beef, enough for about 4 tacos
(This was inspired by the recipe from allrecipe.com with slight alteration. I only marinaded a small amount of meat so I reduced the amount slightly.)
3 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon Agave nectar (I used agave instead of white sugar)
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 ginger block, grated
1 tablespoon water
Let the beef marinade for at least an hour. I let it marinade overnight and popped it in the freezer. Just make sure that you don’t marinade it for too long, as it gets too salty.
Korean Green Onion and Cabbage Salad
I got inspired to make this salad when I found this wonderful blog, Korean Cuisine. I learned that the Korean Onion Salad is called Pa Moochim. I added some shredded cabbage to add a bit more crunch. This makes enough for 4 tacos, but this salad is so delicious, you might want to make more!
(A quick note: I purchased the box of Gochujan, a Korean fermented bean paste, but since I can’t read Korean, this may be a different type of fermented bean paste … I don’t know. When you go to a Korean supermarket, there is an aisle full of the condiments. Nonetheless, the paste is versatile and an absolute essential for many Korean cuisines. Update: I found out that this paste is called Ssamjang, a combination of Gochujan, Doenjan, sesame oil, garlic, onion, and green onion.)
1 bunch green onion, finely sliced
¼ whole cabbage, finely sliced
3 tablespoon sesame oil
5 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Gochujang Ssamjang
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
Mix everything in a bowl and let it sit in a refrigerator for about 15 minutes before serving.
Assembling the Taco
Warm the tortillas on a grill (I like corn tortilla for this). In the meantime, cook the marinaded beef in a pan with olive oil. When cooked, pile the beef on the tortilla. Top the taco with the green onion and cabbage salad. I put some kimchee and Sriracha hot sauce for extra heat. This recipe makes about 4 tacos.