Jangsanjeok | Korean Simmered Teriyaki Style Beef Patties

I got goodies in the mail this week. Score!  It was a massive package of unexpected food-related goodies from my brother and his wife in Korea. Hat trick! In this magical box, Nate and Sun Hwa packed ramen, Korean coffee, laver, spicy tuna and a fantastic Korean foods cookbook. I promise I will cook my way through the book eventually, but the thing that jumped off the pages and screamed “EAT ME!” the most was the luscious looking Jangsanjeok.

There was no accompanying description of the dish, but the ingredients spoke for themselves; beef, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, honey.  Oh my, yes.  When someone says, “What sounds good to you for dinner?” my brain steers -on auto pilot- to some combination of those tastes. Those are my flavors.

There might not have been a description, but there was a photo and it was glorious.  Small squares of beef in a sticky, dark mahogany sauce dusted with chopped nuts. Heck to the yes. The sauce was so deeply colored that it was almost black.  I needed this badly. A closer study of the ingredient list revealed that I had everything (or a decent substitute for everything) required by the recipe.

My first attempt was, while satisfactory, not spectacular.  I found the quantities specified to yield a dish that was too salty for my tastes.  I love salt.  I’m obsessed with salt. I collect varieties of salt. I bleed salt.  But the way I wanted to eat the dish -pretty little sticky squares of garlicky beef perched atop a bed of steamy rice- didn’t work.  When the beef was nibbled at delicately in between bites of banchan and rice, it worked just dandy.

However…

Delicate nibbling does not seem to be the favored approach at our dinner table.  I liken my boys’ eating more to a contest. It’s not a contest between brothers, oh no.  It’s a personal challenge.  You can almost see them thinking, “If I eat this quickly and quietly, she will keep giving me more food. Need more food.”

This is hogwash as my children eat nearly constantly from waking to sleeping.  I regret introducing them to Lord of the Rings so early in life.  They now feel it is their birthright to eat breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. If one of the seven is omitted the weeping and moaning and gnashing of teeth is Biblical in proportion. I’m fairly certain they all must have tapeworms. And this brings me to my point…

Eaten in the mode of my sons, the salt in this dish was overwhelming.  I modified the recipe to reduce the salt content in the sauce and was thrilled. The raw sugar I prefer in this dish gives it a subtle molassesy flavor and contributes to the gorgeous lacquered appearance of the beef patties.  Finally, I threw sesame seeds over everything for a little pop of that wondrous toasty, nutty sesame flavor.

Redolent with flavor, beautiful to the eye, family-friendly, simple and economical to prepare, and made with ingredients that are easy to find, Jangsanjeok is now a part of our regular meal rotation.

I think everyone should blow a collective kiss toward Daegu, Korea right now.  Thank you, Nate and Sun Hwa!

Jangsanjeok | Korean Simmered Teriyaki Style Beef Patties

Scroll to the bottom for an easy-print version of this recipe!

Adapted from ‘A Korean Mother’s Cooking Notes’

Ingredients for Beef Patties:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced (or pressed in a garlic press) garlic
  • 4 tablespoons raw sugar (can substitute white granulated sugar if necessary)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for Simmering Sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice
  • 6 tablespoons raw sugar (can substitute white granulated sugar if necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2″ piece of ginger, thinly sliced*
  • 3 whole small dried red chilis (can substitute 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, can also reduce to suit heat preferences.)
  • 2 whole green onions, ends trimmed

Optional for Garnish:

  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Minced Green Onions

*If you like the idea of having fine threads of cooked ginger adhered to your food with a sticky sauce (and I do, oh, I do!), peel and julienne the ginger before adding to the pot.  If you’d prefer no ‘stuff’ sticking to your food (alas, this is my three youngest children’s preference…) simply slice the ginger into thin coin-shaped pieces before adding with other ingredients.

Preheat oven to broil (High Broil if your oven allows you to differentiate) with the oven rack between 6 to 8 inches from the heating element.  (Alternately, you can heat your gas grill to High or lay a bed of hot coals in your charcoal grill.)

Combine beef with all the other patty ingredients in a medium size bowl.

Mix well with your hands until the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Divide the meat into two portions.  Pat each portion into a square or rectangle that is about 1/2″ thick on a rimmed baking sheet.  The patties do not have to be shaped perfectly, but try your best to get them evenly thick in order to promote even cooking.

Broil or grill the beef for about 3 minutes on the first side.  Carefully flip to prevent breakage. One spatula underneath and one spatula pressed lightly against the top works well for the manoeuver. Return the patty to the broiler or grill and cook until cooked through.  This took 4 more minutes under my broiler.  Do not give in to the temptation to cook the beef rare or medium.  (It will become tender later as it simmers in the sauce.) Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely.

While patties cool, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a large skillet or braising pot.

When the patties are completely cool, cut into squares that are about 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches in size. Bring the sauce ingredients to a boil over medium high.  Stir well, then add the patties to the sauce.  Lower heat to medium low and simmer, basting the patties and turning occasionally, until the sauce has been reduced, is thick and syrupy and has been mostly absorbed.

These can be served over rice with ginger scallion sauce, as a snack, or as part of the banchan in a traditional Korean meal. I like a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Jangsanjeok | Korean Simmered Teriyaki Style Beef Patties
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Try out this Korean classic tonight. Chances are you have everything you need for these small squares of beef in a sticky, dark, garlicky sauce served on rice.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced (or pressed in a garlic press) garlic
  • 4 tablespoons raw sugar (can substitute white granulated sugar if necessary)
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Ingredients for Simmering Sauce:
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice
  • 6 tablespoons raw sugar (can substitute white granulated sugar if necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2" piece of ginger, thinly sliced*
  • 3 whole small dried red chilis (can substitute 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, can also reduce to suit heat preferences.)
  • 2 whole green onions, ends trimmed
  • Optional for Garnish:
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Minced Green Onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to broil (High Broil if your oven allows you to differentiate) with the oven rack between 6 to 8 inches from the heating element. (Alternately, you can heat your gas grill to High or lay a bed of hot coals in your charcoal grill.)
  2. Combine beef with all the other patty ingredients in a medium size bowl. Mix well with your hands until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide the meat into two portions. Pat each portion into a square or rectangle that is about ½" thick on a rimmed baking sheet. The patties do not have to be shaped perfectly, but try your best to get them evenly thick in order to promote even cooking.
  3. Broil or grill the beef for about 3 minutes on the first side. Carefully flip to prevent breakage. One spatula underneath and one spatula pressed lightly against the top works well for the manoeuver. Return the patty to the broiler or grill and cook until cooked through. This took 4 more minutes under my broiler. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely.
  4. While patties cool, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a large skillet or braising pot.
  5. When the patties are completely cool, cut into squares that are about 1-inch to 1½-inches in size. Bring the sauce ingredients to a boil over medium high. Stir well, then add the patties to the sauce. Lower heat to medium low and simmer, basting the patties and turning occasionally, until the sauce has been reduced, is thick and syrupy and has been mostly absorbed.
  6. These can be served over rice with ginger scallion sauce, as a snack, or as part of the banchan in a traditional Korean meal. I like them with a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top.
Notes
If you like the idea of having fine threads of cooked ginger adhered to your food with a sticky sauce (and I do, oh, I do!), peel and julienne the ginger before adding to the pot. If you'd prefer no 'stuff' sticking to your food (alas, this is my three youngest children's preference...) simply slice the ginger into thin coin-shaped pieces before adding with other ingredients.

Comments

  1. Janel says

    I love how at first glance I was thinking “this looks like a wonderful meal but there is no way I could make it” and then after reading your description and instructions, I’m thinking “wow, I could make this!”. ;)

    • Rebecca says

      @debbie koenig I can’t wait to hear how it goes over!

      @jill Brother who *was* in Korea says “yahng san yee-ohk”. Brother who is *in* Korea hasn’t responded to email yet. So. Pronounce at your own risk! :-)

      @ Saint Tigerlily With pork? Brilliant! Please report back on how it tastes… I’m curious!

      @Janel- I know, right? Deceptively simple!

      @meemsnyc I am crazy for Korean food. And thank you! There’s more Korean food coming down the pike!

  2. Karyn says

    OK. I’ve never commented on a blog before. In fact, just found you (via a link from somewhere to your Bacon Jam recipe….HELLO!)
    We just made this for supper after finding it an hour ago and Oh My. This is Fan-Freakin’-Tastic!!! And the smell in my house is, frankly, epic.
    Now if someone would only clean up my kitchen, it would be a perfect ending.
    Thanks for posting!

  3. says

    “…beef, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, honey. Oh my, yes.” I meet your yes, and raise you a hell ya.

    And that entire paragraph about LOTR? LOVE.

    This looks absolutely mouth-watering-fan-friggin-tastic.

  4. beccy'sstepbro says

    The actual pronunciation is just like it’s spelled. Jahng. Sahn. Juck. Not a common dish,usually found in specialty restaurants. A very traditional form of beef that honestly neither of us have had but are now eager to try. One factor for the saltiness could be the type of soy sauce. One kind is saltier, (국간장)Gook Gan Jang, while the other is milder, (진간장) Jin Gan Jang. No English text on the former, but the latter say “Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce”. Don’t know if that helps, but these dishes are always accompanied with rice to cut the saltiness. Hi to all from Daegu, South Korea. Beccy’s rad.

    • says

      I’m half Korean and I can help! In our house we have about 4 different kinds of soy sauce. If you’re looking for a reduced sodium/”healthier” style try 저염간장(jeoyum ganjang). 국간장(gook ganjang) is soy sauce that’s been fermented for long periods of time (months/years), has higher sodium content and is meant to be used for soups. Gook mean soup/stew in Korean. 진간장(jin ganjang)is a blended soysauce, part natural, part chemically processed, often used for most recipes with meat. Hope that helps!

  5. says

    Oh my Lord, this is crying out for me to eat it! Apparently there’s some pretty good Korean fare around Sydney – I’m off to hunt some down!

    Jax x

  6. Christine says

    I was inspired by your picture too. I halved this tonight for dinner. House smelled wonderful and food tasted great – just the right amount of zing on this. Very bold in the best way. No more boring ground beef! (Even my 11 year old liked it, and he’s not into spicy.) Thanks!

  7. Amber C says

    Made this on Thursday and it was really great! Pretty quick once you get all your ingredients in order (you know, like not having to go to the store half way through cooking because you have no apple juice, oops!) and it smelled just as good as it tasted. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Donna B. says

    I found your site today, oh how happy my eyes are!
    I was compelled to comment on this, as the way I’ve eaten this in the past [me mum is Korean. ♥] – it’s made with a brisket rather than ground beef! It’s possible I may have the dishes confused, but seeing as you were commenting on the saltiness plus the deeeeep soy color on the meat, it sounded like this pickled beef that you ate in shreds…! Goodness I’m so hungry right now.
    I may have to try out this [possibly quicker?] version of the meal! Yum yum!
    Have you ever tried to eat Shiso/Perilla/Chia leaves with Korean dishes? Saute it till wilted with the same soy/garlic/chili mixture and it’s DIVINE.

  9. says

    It took me over a year to actually make this, but I finally did tonight. And I’m kicking myself for letting it wait for so long! This is an AMAZING recipe. Pretty sure it’s going right into my top 5 Things to Do with Ground Beef. Thanks!

  10. Cherie says

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I used water instead of juice and 1 lb pork, 1 lb beef
    All my kids loved it and they’re sometimes picky
    Thanks!!!

  11. Laura says

    Made this last night and it was FABULOUS! Husband raved and raved. Added a bit of Sriracha Mayo over the top. YUM!

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