Korean Barbecue Beef Udon

Fresh pineapple is added to cut down the spiciness of this Korean barbecue beef. Cabarrus Health Alliance photo

I was classically trained in French cuisine many, many years ago as a young commis chef. I later became an executive chef at a French style restaurant back in England.

I have to be honest and say I love the depth of flavors, the cooking techniques and traditions that follow the French kitchen brigade. But the high content of fat, sugar and salt were always on my health conscious mind.

Then back in 1999 our whole outlook on diet was reshaped when Matthew became a type 1 diabetic. The fat salt and sugar had to go, if we wanted Matthew’s blood sugars to be as normal as possible. The French cooking style and techniques stayed the same and I started to develop recipes and dishes that reflected my change in healthy ingredients.

Using mainly vegetables, grains, pulses, seeds, nuts, fruits, fish, shellfish and lean animal meats our eating habits evolved to a more whole food approach to eating. The fat, salt and sugar were used in very small amounts or none at all.

Then a trip to Singapore over 10 years ago had the profound effect of changing my cooking style again to a more Asian style. With Alison being diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2008 these French and Asian techniques greatly helped with recipe development.

Now we eat fresh produce as much as possible when in season, using techniques like grilling, poaching, roasting, braising to stir fries that cook and retain as much nutrition as possible. Being a chef for over 37 years now, it still thrills me to learn something new or relook at an old recipe or technique and change it for a healthier approach.

So on with this week’s blog recipe! Do you think of fruit when you order a Korean spicy beef udon noodle bowl? Or an Asian noodle bowl? I’m guessing NOT! But, that’s what makes this recipe so unique and bursting with even more flavor!

As I’ve added ½ cup of fresh pineapple chunks, just to sweeten that little spicy baby down a notch or two. This healthy family recipe takes no time at all to prepare because you’re using a very tender good grade of beef, like flank steak, ribeye or a New York strip cut into thin strips.

You’ll be assured that the beef is velvety delicious to complement the vegetables, noodles and sweet and spicy Korean style sauce. Jeulgyeo as they say in Korea or as we say in America “ENJOY”

Serves 4 to 6


2 cups grass fed beef, either rib eye, NY strip or flank steak, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 cup carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup onions, peeled and thinly sliced

½ cup celery, thinly sliced

½ cup fresh pineapple, peeled and flesh cut into small cubes

2 cups green beans or beans sprouts

2 cups fresh udon noodles

Korean BBQ sauce

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

6 tablespoons low in sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon gochugaru (coarse Korean hot pepper flakes), or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

How to cook:

Take a large wok and place over a medium to high heat on the stove, add the oil, when hot add the beef strips. Cook, stirring all the time until the beef is crisp and golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the vegetables/pineapple and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the green beans or sprouts and noodles along with the Korean BBQ sauce ingredients.

Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring all the time, until everything is cooked through and piping hot, remove from the stove and serve.

Chef Mark Allison

Mark Allison, Executive is Chef of Culinary Innovation at the Cabarrus Health Alliance. Check out www.cabarrushealth.org/cookingclasses for more recipes and a list of upcoming cooking classes with Chef Allison.

Mark Allison is Executive Chef of Culinary Innovation at the Cabarrus Health Alliance. Check out www.cabarrushealth.org/cookingclasses for a list of upcoming cooking classes with Chef Allison.  Want more recipes?  Visit www.chefmarkallison.com.

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