Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Korean Tacos with Marinated Sirloin Cooked on a Himalayan Salt Plate Paired with Sauvignon Blanc

Korean Taco

Chef Sue and I went shopping for a couple of kitchen gadgets yesterday, something I used to dread, but now enjoy almost as much as a good round of golf…almost.  One of the items on the list was a Himalayan salt plate.  If you are not familiar with a Himalayan salt plate, don’t worry.  I had no idea either.  Hey, Chef Sue said it would be cool, and I never argue when she wants something new for the kitchen.

The idea is simple and elegant.  Salt retains heat (or cold)…and of course is, um, salty.  Image a block of pure, unprocessed salt in a block (it looks like a slab of granite) roughly 1 1/2 inches thick, 10 inches wide and about 16 inches long.  For those mid-western hunters out there, don’t go out to the woods and retrieve the salt-lick you put out for the deer – not the same thing.  And besides, you don’t know what the deer have been doing with that salt.

Salt plates can be used to cook nearly anything and can be placed on the grill, on the stove top, or in the oven where they do a wonderful job of evenly distributing the heat.  You can also heat the salt plate in the oven and use it to do the cooking right on the dining room table as you would with fondue.  This was the approach we took for our Korean Tacos.

Korean Marinated Sirloin on Himalayan Salt Plate

With our new Himalayan salt plate in hand, I was anxious to put it to work.  With the recent influx of Korean taco trucks, I was inspired to give crack at creating my own, and the salt plate seemed to be perfect for the task.  Or at least, the Korean taco gave me a good excuse to play with our new toy.

Korean tacos, from my experience, are simple and delicious.  Marinated and grilled or barbequed meat topped with a slaw dressed with traditional ingredients, and topped with pepper/chili paste or sauce.  My interpretation was easy, tasty, and a crowd pleaser.  I am not a connoisseur of Korean tacos, but the flavor was spectacular and I believe I came pretty close to this wonderful bite of street food.

Korean Slaw

Using the Himalayan salt plate in this preparation worked extremely well and served as a center piece for conversation as the dinner guests cooked the meat at the dinner table.  One of the lessons learned from this event included care in how long the meat stays on the salt plate.  If left too long, the salt flavor combined with the sirloin and marinade and tended toward to the too salty.  The key is to cook only the amount of meat necessary to construct your taco, then start over for the next serving.

The wine pairing for this dish was not planned.  From the time we picked up the salt plate, conceived the dinner, and sat down to eat was about two hours…and nobody thought about the wine.  We pulled a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc out of the rack and it worked well.  It was a cheap and cheerful wine but still had the characteristics for a good pairing.  The key to pairing with this dish is selecting a wine with light body, healthy acidity, and a touch of sweetness all intended to balance the piquance of the taco and condiments.

Korean Taco-1

The next time I prepare this, I will choose another Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling with medium acidity, bright fruit, and a touch of sweetness.


Korean Sirloin and Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 pound sirloin sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 ounces mirin
  • 2 ounces sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

Korean Slaw Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of Napa cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 cup daikon, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 6 scallions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (or equivalent chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Assembly

  • 1/2 cup of marinade reserved as condiment
  • Sambal oelek to taste as a condiment
  • 8 tortillas


  1. Blend soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, scallions and ginger.
  2. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce and add to a sauce pan. Reduce by 1/2 then refrigerate for later use as a condiment when assembling the tacos.
  3. Place sliced sirloin in a small container and add the sauce. Cover and refrigerate to marinade for at least one hour - the longer the better.
  4. Prepare Korean slaw dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, olive oil, mirin and sambal oelek.
  5. Add Napa cabbage, daikon, spouts, scallions and cilantro to a large bowl and dress with slaw dressing. Toss to ensure uniform coating.
  6. Place your Himalayan salt plate in the oven and slowly heat to 450 degrees. If you don't have a Himalayan salt plate, sauté sirloin in the marinade over high heat.
  7. Carefully remove Himalayan salt plate from the oven and place in the center of the table. Allow your guests to cook their sirloin on the salt plate.
  8. Assemble tacos with sirloin, a drizzle of marinade reduction, Korean slaw, and sambal oelek to taste.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


No comments:

Post a Comment