When east meets west. That is basically the essence of these Korean beef steak tacos. These are fusion-style tacos made with tender, juicy slices of beef steak marinated in flavourful and fragrant Asian seasonings, and topped with caramelized pineapple, purple cabbage, fermented kimchi, with a drizzled of spicy mayo and sesame seeds on top. These tacos have so much flavour in every bite. They are SO good.
The best part? You can make these beef tacos in less than 25 minutes. Which is basically the answer to my summer weeknight dinner dreams. You can stir fry the beef on the stovetop OR throw it in the air fryer to make things even easier.
What is in Korean Beef Tacos?
- beef - I used beef sirloin, but you can also use flank steak. Cut the beef into 2-inch stir fry strips.
- marinade for the beef - made with a combination of soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, brown sugar, ground ginger, minced garlic, ground black pepper, and cornstarch. The cornstarch makes the beef more tender. The seasonings gives the beef its signature garlicky and gingery taste.
- spicy mayo sauce - made with mayonnaise, Sriracha hot sauce, lime juice, water.
- soft taco tortillas - I used corn tortillas to keep this dish gluten-free. Feel free to substitute with wheat tortillas, if that's what you have on hand.
- toppings - I topped these tacos with caramelized pineapple, purple cabbage, kimchi (fermented cabbage), cilantro, and sesame seeds.
How to Make the Best Korean Beef Steak Tacos
- Marinate the beef: Place sliced beef into a zip-loc bag. Add soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and cornstarch. (The cornstarch makes the beef more tender). Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Press the marinade around the beef to coat. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Make the spicy mayo sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime juice and water. Stir well to get a smooth texture and set aside.
- Cook the beef with pineapple: You can either stir fry the beef and pineapple together or cook them in the air fryer:
- To stir fry: Add the marinated beef and pineapple into a large frying pan and cook over medium high heat until the beef turns brown, about 7 minutes. Stir well to cook evenly. Then, turn heat down to low, cover and let it simmer for 1 minute to allow the pineapple juice to seep into the beef, making them even more tender.
- To air fry: Cook the beef and pineapple together in the air fryer at 350 F for 13 minutes. Shake the air fryer basket halfway through. Transfer the beef and pineapple to a plate.
- Heat the soft tortillas: Heat the soft tortillas according to the package instructions, or heat in an ungreased skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds per side. You can also heat it directly on a gas burner for a few seconds to get char marks on the edges.
- Assemble the tacos: Add ¼ cup stir-fried beef and pineapple mixture on each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon sliced purple cabbage and chopped kimchi to taste. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro and sesame seeds on top, and drizzle with spicy mayo sauce to taste.
FAQ and Tips for Making Korean Beef Tacos
- What is kimchi? Kimchi is dish of fermented vegetables (most often napa cabbage). It is a staple ingredient in Korean cuisine and adds that classic Korean flavour to these tacos. You can find it easily at Asian grocery stores, or you can even make your own.
- Do I have to add pineapple? The pineapple enhances and really brings out the flavour of the beef that much more. I personally would not skip it. But, if you don't have any on hand, you can omit it and still end up with a delicious taco.
- Can I use ground beef instead? Yes, you can use ground beef instead. Marinate the ground beef the exact same way, and cook it in a skillet. I would not recommend cooking it in the air fryer.
- Double stack the tortillas. I normally double stack my tortillas and stuff my tortillas to the max. Double stacking helps hold everything in, especially if one of the tortillas tears.
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