This Korean marinade is all you need to amp up your BBQ

Fresh lemon is added at the end in the preparation of this Korean marinade to keep it fresh for a longer period.
Fresh lemon is added at the end in the preparation of this Korean marinade to keep it fresh for a longer period.PHOTO: THE KOREA HERALD

(THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - This marinade is all you need for Korean barbecue this summer. 

Another plus point is that it takes less than an hour to put this large batch together. All the flavour-enhancing ingredients are boiled together, so the marinade is very flavourful and it has a long shelf life. 

To make this all-purpose marinade, the ingredients are boiled with umami-boosting vegetables such as dried shiitake mushrooms and dashima. You can also use Korean radish. For fruity sweetness, I used an apple but you can use an Asian or Korean pear.

The fresh lemon is added at the end to keep the marinade fresh for a longer time.

Use it for any Korean barbecue dishes such as galbi, bulgogi, chicken bulgogi and salmon bulgogi or add Korean flavours to your steaks and ribs. You can zip up the flavours by adding fresh garlic, ginger, onion or scallion, but it is not necessary.

You will generally need one cup of this marinade for 1kg of meat. 


6 cups of water

4 cups soy sauce

½ to 1 cup sugar

1 corn syrup

1 onion, roughly cut into small pieces

1 apple 

2 scallions

12 plump garlic cloves

5cm-long ginger, thinly sliced

3 or 4 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 tsp peppercorns

32 sq cm dashima

1 cup rice wine (or mirin or dry white wine)

1 lemon, sliced


1. Add all the ingredients (except the dashima, rice wine and lemon) to a large pot with six cups of water. Bring it to a boil over high heat, uncovered, and then reduce the heat to achieve a medium boil. Boil for 30 minutes. 

2. Add the dashima and rice wine and continue to boil for 10 more minutes. 

3. Remove all the solids with a strainer. 

4. Add the lemon slices and let it cool. Store in a jar or jars in the refrigerator.

For 1kg of meat (such as beef short ribs), use 1 cup marinade and add 1 Tbs sesame oil. You can also add 1 Tbs minced garlic, grated ¼ Korean pear (or a couple of tablespoons of Korean plum extract, maesilcheong) and a handful of scallion and onion slices if you like.

Yields about 10 cups