Bulgogi Portobello Tacos

Beef bulgogi Korean tacos are one of my favorites. Try this vegan twist using meaty portobello mushrooms, which soak up all the delicious marinade. 

With Halloween next week, this month's Recipe Redux theme is a scary one. They've got us dusting the cobwebs off those spooky spices we're afraid to use and conquering our cooking fears. Cue the Jaws theme!

This was a tricky challenge for me. As someone with an extensive spice collection and a close, personal relationship with each and every one, at first glance, none of my spices seemed all that intimidating. There are plenty of things that intimidate me, but spices are just not one of them. Every jar is already on regular rotation in my kitchen. Well, except for caraway, which I once bought for a cabbage recipe forgetting that it is the third most disgusting thing on the planet (right behind papaya and mealy red apples, of course).

I had to do some digging, but finally I stumbled across a bottle of gochugaru. Less intimidating name - Korean chile powder. I bought it to make a kimchi cucumber pickles, then completely forgot about it after getting buried in the back of a cabinet.

Gochugaru is made from sun-dried chili peppers which are ground into flakes. It has a hint of sweetness and smokiness that truly make it unique. You could substitute red chili flakes or a dash of cayenne, but really, you can't! If you ever plan on cooking Korean food, you should definitely pick up a bottle.

One of my favorite Korean dishes is bulgogi, grilled strips of beef that have been marinated in the most delicious sweet, spicy and salty sauce. Since I made this dish on National Mushroom Day, I decided to substitute portobello mushrooms. They have a similar meatiness plus their texture soaks up all the yummy marinade. To throw another twist in it, I turned it into a taco, although I suppose I am about four years behind on the whole Korean taco trend.  But hey, it's delicious and delicious never goes out of style!


Bulgogi Portobello Tacos

Makes 8 tacos

Ingredients

Mushrooms:

  • 6 medium-large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and sliced 1/2 inch thick

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1/2 pear, grated

  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), optional

  • 3 scallions, chopped into 1-inch slices

  • 1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil

Slaw:

  • 1/3 head cabbage, shredded

  • 1 large carrot, shredded on the large grates of a cheese grater

Gochujang Mayo:

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

Other ingredients: 

  • 8 corn tortillas

  • 1 avocado, sliced

Instructions

  1. Whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, sesame oil, pear, chili flakes, and scallion. Add portobellos, toss and refrigerate 1-2 hours to marinade.

  2. When ready to cook, heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and scallions and cook until tender and golden, about 7 minutes total.

  3. While mushrooms are cooking, toss together the cabbage and carrot. Whisk together gochujang and mayo.

  4. Warm the tortillas over a low flame. Assemble tortillas with slaw, mushrooms, avocado, and gochujang mayo.