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Instant Pot Korean Beef Dips BECAUSE WE CAN

It's the holiday season and I have decided to take off the last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas so that I can get back in my own kitchen and just cook for my family after a busy year of cooking for other people. My family, understandably, is thrilled. The cobbler's family has no shoes syndrome is real.

One of the first things I tried last week was the Instant Pot Beef Dip from Amy and Jacky at pressure cook recipes . Their methods are so well tested and always work like a charm, and this one was fabulous, as expected.

Looking for something with a bit more kick, I used their recipe as a jumping off point to make this Korean Beef Dip. I often make really sloppy, delicious grilled cheese sandwiches out of my Korean Meatloaf and immediately thought that I would LOVE to make a Korean Beef Dip - all the same flavours in the meatloaf grilled cheese with with a spicy jus to dip the sandwich in?

This sandwich is perfect - sharp cheddar and kimchi/gochujang are meant to be together although, I also ate some of the beef and sauce over rice, with scallions and sesame seeds and that was delicious too.

Two things to mention:

Number one - I will say, upfront, this is not one of the simplest Instant Pot recipes but, doing this in the oven would take twice as long and although I am not always a fan of searing meat when pressure cooking, if you have the time, sear the meat. At the very least, it adds all that delicious fond on the bottom of the pot and that is a flavour bomb.

*Regarding searing meat:
the super high heat involved in pressure cooking means that the maillard reaction (the chemical reaction between reducing sugars and amino acids that gives browned foods it's distinctive flavour) occurs without browning so you get the depth of flavour without the "look" of seared meat. This means that almost across the board, searing meat doesn't add all that much to a pressure cooked dish.

Number two - I realize that this recipe requires a bunch of Korean ingredients that can't really be substituted but they are great ingredients to add to your food and if you like spicy food, you will have fun experimenting with them.

I add gochujang to all sorts of soups and stews, sauces etc to add some funky, sweet heat and the bean paste works much like miso paste and adds umami, salt and a deeper depth of flavour to foods. The ssamjang is great on any sandwich, is great in grilled cheese, on a burger - you name it. Think of it as spicy, funky ketchup. There are quite a few recipes on my site that use these ingredients too, like

 Spicy Korean Baked Chicken

Instant Pot Spicy Korean Chicken Stew

Instant Pot Korean Pulled Pork

Bi Bim Bap Sopes

Korean Beef Dip

makes 6 sandwiches

Beef and au jus:

3 lbs or about 1400g pot roast, cross rib roast or blade roast
kosher salt and pepper
3 tbls oil - canola, grapeseed or other flavourless oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2" piece of ginger, peeled and rasped
3 onions, sliced
1 cup of mushroom or chicken broth (I use Campbell's mushroom broth)
1/3 cup of dried mushrooms or 5 or 6 Chinese dried mushroom caps 
1 asian pear, peeled and shredded or finely chopped
2 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls fish sauce
1 tbls sesame oil
1 tbls mirin
2 tbls Korean bean paste (Doenjang)
2 tbls Korean fermented hot pepper paste (Gochujang)
1 to 2 tbls of Korean Chili Powder (Gochugaru)

Sprinkle generous amount of kosher salt and grind black pepper on all sides of the beef.
Heat the mushroom broth or chicken broth and throw in the dried mushrooms and set aside
Heat up the Instant Pot on saute until the machine says "hot"
Add in 2 tbls oil and then sear the beef for 10 minutes per side
Remove the beef and set aside
Add in another tbls of oil and saute the onions for about 5 minutes, add in the garlic and ginger and saute another minute.
Pour in the broth and the dried mushrooms and deglaze the pot, making sure you scrape up all the good bits that are stuck on the bottom of the pot.
Add the asian pear,  soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, mirin, doenjan, gochujang and gochugaru and stir well before adding the beef back in and pushing down, submerging the meat as much as possible.

Hit cancel and then program to cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally.

Open the lid and remove the meat to a bowl. Hit cancel and then hit saute again and bring the jus to a boil while you shred the beef with two forks or your fingers. After the mixture has reduced a bit - let it boil for three or four minutes- pour the juice through a strainer and add all of the solids in with the shredded meat and mix it in with the beef.

Set the meat and jus aside.

shredded beef
au jus

two french sticks or six crusty buns
ssamjang (korean dipping sauce/paste)
approx 3 cups shredded shard cheddar (you can use more or less, to your taste)
3\4 cup kimchi, chopped if needed
2 scallions, sliced thinly
6 tbls sesame seeds
Kewpie or other brand mayonnaise
handful of fresh cilantro, leaves picked off

Preheat the broiler

Cut each french stick into three sections and then cut in half lengthwise. If using buns, cut in half. Spread the bottom with ssamjang and pile 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cheese on each bottom. Put the bottoms under the broiler until the cheese starts to melt and remove from the oven.

Pile each sandwich with a generous amount of the shredded beef/onion, add about 2 tbls of kimchi on top of the beef. Now scatter 1/6th of the scallion, 1 tbls sesame seeds and either squirt some Kewpie mayo on top, or spread some mayo on the top of the bun. Add a few leaves of cilantro and cap it with the top of the bun/bread.

Serve each sandwich with a small bowl of the au jus for dipping.

Instant Pot Spicy Korean Chicken Stew

I really wanted Korean food the other day but I didn't feel like leaving the house, which happens. It was overcast, cold and dreary, I didn't have the car so that would also entail cramming my body onto the subway to go downtown...not today, Satan, not today.

Temperance and Temptation in The Headwaters

Always on the lookout for for great things to do in and around Toronto, I was happy to attend a media preview of Temperance and Temptation, the newest joint venture between York/Durham/Headwaters, Central Counties Tourism and this past September.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken Meatballs

I make my Instant Pot Butter Chicken fairly often but I don't always plan well enough to marinate the meat overnight and I do believe that an overnight marinade is essential to achieve a rich depth of flavour in the final dish and avoid it tasting like bland chicken plunked into delicious sauce. My theory was that if I added the chicken marinade ingredients INTO the meatballs, it wouldn't have to sit for so long before I can cook the finished dish.

If You Only Do One Thing In Lisbon, Make It A Market Tour and Cooking Class at Mesa Luisa

Meet Luisa.

Luisa grew up in Portugal, went to school in Belgium, lived in Spain and France and spent a large chunk of her life travelling the world while she worked in advertising before she quit to become a dressmaker, working out of her stunning former ship part warehouse space directly facing the Tagus River in Lisbon. Then, this past February, Luisa decided to change course yet again, built a beautiful kitchen in her warehouse and launched her newest venture, Mesa Luisa. Offering her version of the more typical market shop followed by a cooking class and lunch, upcoming workshops and private evening dinners by appointment , Luisa has reinvented herself as a chef, hostess, guide and story teller in her hometown of Lisbon.

Lisbon and Porto in Photos

Sunset over the River Tagus

I just got back from a ten day trip to Portugal - okay, it was actually eight days in Portugal and 2 days in Paris. I did things a little differently this time as I was taking my big sister with me to experience Europe for the first time and didn't want to be a slave to my notes. I was there in 2014 so I wanted to let her kind of set the tone and let's be honest, I will be back another time. Or two. Or three.

Feed Your Freezer With A Big Batch of Meatballs

More Meatballs!
My last recipe was for these crazy delicious Korean Meatballs and this time, I am showing you how to whip up a big batch of tender meatballs that you can bake off and then freeze because, I know you don't want to hear it, but SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER. Time to stock the freezer for September when life goes back to the daily grind and nobody has time to come home from work or school and make these puppies.

Why Spicy Koreanish Meatballs Should Be One of the Seven Deadly Sins

Oh my, what a spring/summer I have had. For the last year I have been working as a hired gun, cooking for a local caterer, teaching classes as well as hosting pop ups and private dinners around Toronto.

Basque Potato Leek Soup with Cod and Crispy Serrano Ham

I am Back!!

I have been sick since mid April, hence my absence from the blog. I bet you thought I had quit, didn't you?

A Spanish Feast to Usher in the Spring For My Toronto Friends

Okay my people, if you are in Toronto, you are in for a treat this month. I am going to make big, family style meal for 20 at The Kingston Social that is inspired by my recent trip to Barcelona. As always, Tanya will be on hand to whip up her amazing cocktails with a lovely wine and beer list available as well.

Come and join us for a night of fun, delicious food and drink and if you are really lucky, some table top flamenco dancing by yours truly

Reserve your spot by buying a ticket here

Adventures in Spanish Cookery at Cook & Taste Barcelona

I don't know about you, but the first thing I do when I get to a new country is visit a grocery store or outdoor market because I truly feel that our first connection to other cultures and their people is through food. 

Spanish Tortilla At Last

I lived in Madrid a million years ago when I was in my twenties and I admit it - I was a tortilla addict. I ate tortilla in the morning. I ate tortilla mid morning. I ate tortilla at lunch, at dinner and again in the evening as a tapa.
I also gained an alarming amount of weight which only made sense AFTER I watched somebody making it. Potatoes cooking away in a big pan of simmering oil was all I needed to see to understand why my steady diet of tortilla and beer was also responsible for my waist white wall tire.

My Travel Notebook: Day Trips from Barcelona - Girona and Tarrogona

brightly coloured facades of the houses overlooking the Onyar River

If you are in Barcelona more than a few days, you are missing out if you don't plan at least one day trip, depending on your interests.

My Barcelona Notebook: Ten Days Of Joyous Eating, Drinking and More Eating

It would be an understatement to say that we probably ate some of the best food in recent memory while we were in Barcelona. Unlike Paris, where I found that between the fabulous sandwiches that we would grab from any old boulangerie and some bazillion dollar 2 Michelin star restaurant, the food was inconsistent and often not very good although always expensive. Sorry people, you can send me all the hate mail you like, but all three of us agree on that point - the restaurant food was expensive and disappointing more often than not.

Pressure Cooker Thai Red Curry Beef

I've gotta be honest, I have not loved my attempts at making Thai beef curries in my pressure cooker up until now. It just always felt like the sauce was a little too thin and it lacked body but I didn't want to add more coconut milk and then dilute the red curry flavour.

What to do?

This time, after it was done the initial pressure cook, I threw in some potato and sweet potato and when it was done, much of the sweet potato had kind of broken down and melted into the sauce, thickening it up nicely without diluting the intensity of the red curry paste. I also really like the sweetness it adds - it really balances out the heat of the red curry beautifully and kind of mellows it slightly without diluting the flavour, which is exactly what it was missing.


Another recipe finally converted to work in the Instant Pot (you can make it in any brand of electric pressure cooker, of course). This curry usually simmers for at least two hours on the stove top so cutting that time by about 60% is a pretty nice bonus too. Feel free to leave out the broccoli and substitute some green beans or frozen peas if you don't have any broccoli, just make sure that you add those delicate vegetables after the pressure cooking is over and let them cook gently in the residual heat of the curry for a few minutes with the lid on before you serve it.

Pressure Cooker Thai Red Curry Beef

serves 6-8

1 tbls of vegetable oil
2 small or 1 large onion, cut in rough wedges
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2" piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
1 piece lemongrass, smashed and cut into 3" pieces
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 can of coconut milk (don't shake as you will use the cream from the top of the can)
4 tbls of red curry paste
1 tbls fish sauce
1 tbls soy sauce
1 kg (2 lbs) stewing beef
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 or 4 small waxy potatoes, cut in large bite size pieces
1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large bite sized pieces
2 tbls lime juice
about half a head of broccoli cut into flowerets

cilantro, lime wedges, rice

Salt the stew beef and set aside.

Heat the pot using the saute button until it says hot before you add in the oil and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for a few minutes, until starting to get a bit of colour.

Push the onions to the side, scrape the solid cream off the top of the can of coconut milk and add that to the pot. Stir in the red curry paste and fry in the coconut cream for about 5 minutes, slowly incorporating the onions into it and keep cooking until it starts to turn a much darker brownish red.

Add in the lemongrass, lime leaves, coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce, soy sauce and the beef and stir until everything is well coated.

Lock the lid on and either hit the meat/stew button or cook on manual HP for 35 minutes.
When the time is up, do a quick release, add in the potato and sweet potato, lock the lid back on and cook for 3 minutes at HP.

Do another quick release, throw in the lime juice and the broccoli, put the lid back on and let it sit for five minutes while you get the bowls, rice and garnishes together so the broccoli can cook in the residual heat.

Serve over rice, garnished with chopped cilantro and serve with a lime wedge or two.

March means Supper Club and Cooking Classes

I am back from a ten day trip to Barcelona and man, am I fired up! I just spent 10 days eating and drinking and exploring, I lugged home three sizes of paella pans, cazuelas, spices, dried peppers, black sea salt and a brain overloaded with ideas. 

Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming posts about my trip, about what we ate, what we saw and where we went, but, for now, here is what is happening in the upcoming month:

For our March Supper Club, I am going to do a bit of a Mexican/Greek mash up. There will be tasty cocktails, great food and great dining companions, as always, so go reserve your seat now
Get your tickets for our March 18 Supper Club Opaaa!

Upcoming Cooking Classes for March

For the cheap and cheerful crowd, I have two What's For Dinner Classes at the Musgrave Loblaws in March. You pay $15 and get a $15 dollar gift card for your trouble.

March 8
March 22

Also, my next series of Instant Pot classes this month will be taking place at The Depanneur. Workshops are $60 each and start at 6:30pm 

 March 25 will be another Intro to Instant Pot Class
If that sells out, as they often do, I will be repeating the class on March 26

On March 27 I will be teaching an Instant Pot Pasta hands on workshop
This class is a new one for those of you who have taken the intro class OR are getting comfortable with your wizard pot and want to start branching out from beans, soup and hard boiled eggs


January Supper Club at The Kingston Social - Peruvian Flavah

Okay, Toronto Peeps, it's a new year and we are starting up our monthly Supper Clubs at The Kingston Social House, in Toronto's East East End.

The first dinner of the year, this Sunday, January 21, will feature one of my favourite meals to cook and eat - my Peruvian Flavah dinner. We start with Aguadito de Pollo, a hearty chicken soup that is full of cilantro, white rice as well as black rice, chicken, aji amarillo all topped off with crispy chicken skin.

Pressure Cooker Seco de Carne - Peruvian Beef Stew

You may have noticed that I am not keeping up with my regular pace on the blog. For the last 8 years, I've tried to add at least 1 or 2 recipes a week but my own cooking gigs have kept me out of my own kitchen since the fall.

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