Steak Two Ways, Indian and Korean

Spice-Rubbed T-Bones
It’s summer, we bought a quarter of a cow, and so we’re grilling a lot of steak. Sometimes just with salt and pepper, often with some improvized rub of Indian spices, occasionally marinated a la Korean kalbi. A note on the last: kalbi/galbi refers to a particular cut of short rib. However, the butcher who processes the beef we buy doesn’t do that cut; and the Korean stores in the Twin Cities sell less than optimal versions for very high prices. So, even though my wife doesn’t like the idea very much we’ve been doing it of late with other cuts of meat (in this case sirloin). And for the Indian part, I’ve noted before that far more beef is eaten in India than most people (including most Indians) realize, but we don’t really have a tradition of grilled steak. Most beef preparations are braises of one kind or the other. So, when you see me post recipes for steak with Indian flavours that’s just me substituting Indian ingredients in marinades and rubs. I’ve previously posted a recipe for flank steak—that was a wet marinade, this one is a dry rub. 

Dry Steak Rub of Indian Spices


  • 2-3 hot dried red chilliesSpices for Rub
  • 3/4 tspn black peppercorns
  • 3/4 tspn Sichuan peppercorns (okay, so it’s not an Indian spice)
  • 1/2 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tspn coriander seeds
  • 2-3 small pieces of cinnamon


  1. Grind all the spices to a coarse powder.
  2. Rub the spices and a couple of generous pinches of sea salt all overRub
    the steak and let it sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours (ideally, a day or two).
  3. Bring the steak to room temperature before grilling and then cook to desired doneness.
  4. Let the steak rest for 7-10 minutes and then slice and serve.


  1. Make as large a batch of the dry rub as you will need for however much steak you have on hand.
  2. You can reduce the number of dried chillies if you don’t want it to be too spicy. On the Grill
  3. As for how long you grill your steak that really depends on how hot your grill gets. I tend to pile the coal up high on one side, char the steaks nicely and then move them to the cooler side of the grill for a few minutes before removing. I don’t cover the grill while all this is happening and I’m usually done in 10 minutes or so for  t-bones at medium-rare and less for thinner cuts of meat.
  4. We sometimes eat the sliced up steak with rice and dal, sometimes with parathas—I guess more or less in the way we’d incorporate kababs into a meal.

Korean-style “Kalbi”


  • Kalbi Marinade1 medium red onion, pureed
  • 2 scallions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tblspns sesame oil
  • 3 tblspns honey
  • 20 or so grinds of the pepper mill
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste


  1. MarinatedStrain the onion “juice” through a thin handkerchief or cheesecloth or muslin (if you’re fancy). Mix the juice with all the other ingredients.
  2. Submerge the meat in the marinade for at least 3-4 hours.
  3. Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking. Remove the meat from the marinade, shaking off the liquid and removing any bits of the scallions stuck to the meat. Cook to desired doneness, making sure to get a good char.
  4. Serve with rice or lettuce or green salad with kochujang and toasted sesame oil on the side.


  1. readyThis is one of the versions of the marinades my wife makes. Sometimes there’s garlic in there too. I’m sure different
    Korean households have different versions.
  2. She cautions not to use the unstrained pureed onion as that will make the marinade too bitter.
  3. She also notes that it’s quite usual to use corn syrup or brown sugar as the sweetener. These days she prefers honey.
  4. We generally cook kalbi in a very hot cast iron pan, but it would be very nice over charcoal as well.
  5. Koreans tend to cook beef till at least medium but there’s no reason you can’t go rarer.

Spice-Rubbed T-Bones

4 thoughts on “Steak Two Ways, Indian and Korean

  1. For the Korean-style, would using rice syrup (ssalyeot, if my Hangul reading is right) be okay as a sweetener? I have some leftover from another recipe and I’ve been itching to use it up. Mmm…galbi…


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