Flavorful and tender beef slices, noodles, and vegetables are all bundled up in a crisp lettuce leaf in these steak lettuce wraps. They are fresh and tasty, making these Korean style tacos a great starter or light meal.
Imagine tender beef infused with a blend of salty and sweet flavors, stir-fried with onions and stuffed in a crisp, fresh, green lettuce leaf with some Korean sweet potato noodles. Have I got your attention?
Is it the 2018 Winter Olympics being held in South Korea that have inspired me to make these Korean steak lettuce wraps? Or is it just that I’m a fan of Korean flavors, in general? Perhaps I just like the fact that this not only tastes really good, but it also looks really good? And we all know that half of what makes a dish good is the visual appeal, right?
Maybe it’s all of the above!
Whatever the reason, I think you’re going to like what this recipe has to offer!
The star of these steak lettuce wraps, of course, is the thinly marinated beef, stir-fried with sliced onions. Soaking the beef for a minimum of 4 hours prior to cooking allows it to tenderize and soak in as much flavor as possible.
Then there’s the addition of Korean sweet potato noodles (japchae), just to add some extra substance and texture to the wrap. And really…who doesn’t love noodles? You can even use steamed rice in the wrap to partner with the beef! That being said, the noodles and rice are completely optional. The beef can stand alone in the wraps, too!
Then comes the crisp lettuce leaves that serve not only as the vessel to carry all the tasty food, but they also add a fresh crunch component to the dish. I, personally, like romaine lettuce leaves, but you could use other lettuce like iceberg or Bibb.
Top each steak lettuce wrap with sesame seeds and chopped green onions, if you’d like, or serve it with a side of kimchi. It would also taste great with a drizzle of Korean chili sauce!
I love the freshness of this dish. It’s a perfect marriage of savory and sweet flavors, the texture of the combined meat, vegetables, and noodles, all in the cool crisp lettuce leaf. Think of these steak lettuce wraps like fajitas…but Asian style with Korean flavors! Isn’t that enough reason for you to try this recipe out in your kitchen?
Korean Steak Lettuce Wraps
- 1 1/2 lbs. (680g) beef short rib steak, sliced thin cross-grain
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 tbs light olive oil
- 1/3 cup tamari (soy sauce, liquid or coconut aminos)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 3 tsp mirin
- 1 1/2 tbs honey
- 3 tbs applesauce (or grated apple or apple juice)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Chopped green onions
- Gochujang (Korean chili sauce)
Korean Sweet Potato Noodles: (optional filling)
- 1/4 lb. (113g) dry sweet potato noodles
- 1 tbs light olive oil
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 1-2 stalks green onion, cut into 1" lengths
- 1/4 cup tamari (soy sauce, liquid or coconut aminos)
- 2 tbs honey
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- Combine all marinade ingredients and mix well.
- In ziploc bag or bowl, combine steak slices with marinade and marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
- Heat 1 tbs light olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the beef slices to the onions in the skillet and discard marinade.
- Stir-fry the beef until cooked through and the liquid has cooked off. The beef should have some caramelizing on it.
- Serve in lettuce leaves with Korean Sweet Potato Noodles or steamed rice, if desired.
- Top with sesame seeds, chopped green onions, Korean chili sauce, or kimchi, if desired.
Korean Sweet Potato Noodles (optional filling):
- Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add sweet potato noodles and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Drain.
- Combine tamari (or soy sauce), honey, sesame oil, and pepper in bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbs light olive oil.
- Stir-fry carrots until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add green onions to the pan and stir-fry another minute to wilt.
- Add cooked sweet potato noodles and mix to combine.
- Add sauce to the pan and mix well to heat through.
- The Korean Sweet Potato Noodles for the lettuce wraps are completely optional. You can use just the beef as the filling!
- Steamed rice is another good filling companion for the steak.
- This recipe could work with ground beef instead of steak. If you use ground beef, there is no need to marinate it, but it should be cooked until all the liquid has cooked off.
- Stir-fry the beef with other vegetables like red or yellow peppers!
If you make this dish, share your photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @dayinthekitchen!
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