Bulgogi salmon is an explosion of exotic flavor and taste from Korea. In Korean, bulgogi literally means “fire meat” and is normally prepared with thin slices of beef or pork on the barbecue. With this air fryer recipe you’ll not only save time, but also have the additional convenience of not having to grill out in cold, hot, or inclement weather.
The star of this salmon recipe is the marinade. Bulgogi is made from a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, scallions, ginger, onions, mushrooms, and pears. The combination of sweet and umami flavors make for an incredibly unique and extremely tasty experience. I’ve made this marinade from scratch several times but some of the ingredients can be difficult to find, and it is a time consuming process. This bulgogi salmon recipe is all about ease and speed so a secret that I’ve learned is you can buy it at most grocery stores, or online (link below, note it’s listed as Korean BBQ for Beef).
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The sugars from the pear not only tenderize the bulgogi salmon but also allow for beautiful caramelization. This adds to the visual appeal of the dish and it creates the Maillard reaction. This is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that give browned foods its distinctive flavor. Normally a grill would be used for this process but the air fryer really shines here.
Making bulgogi salmon couldn’t be an easier with this recipe. The first step starts at the market, finding the most rectangular and evenly cut piece of salmon that you can. The next step is cutting the salmon into thin slices about a centimeter wide. A pro tip is using a knife to cut down to the skin but then kitchen scissors to finish the cuts though the skin.
Once the salmon is cut into equal sized pieces, the next step is adding your marinade and fish into a bowl and placing them into the refrigerator for fifteen minutes up to an hour. While the bulgogi salmon marinades, take this time to preheat the air fryer, start preparing rice, cover a cooking tray with foil, and spray a thin layer of oil on it to make sure nothing sticks. This also makes for a clean up easy!
Bulgogi salmon cooks for ten minutes at four hundred degrees, but cooking time can be shortened if you prefer a little less char. Traditional Korean BBQ is served with Banchan (vegetable side dishes), but I like to have my bulgogi salmon over plain white rice.
- Air Fryer, or Oven (50 degrees warmer)
- 3/4 lb Salmon Filet
- 1/2 bottle Bulgogi Marinade
- Cut the salmon into equal sized centimeter pieces. Place in a bowl with marinade, and refrigerate for 15 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Line your cooking tray with foil, and add a thin layer of cooking spray or oil.
- Cook on the top shelf for ten minutes, or to your preferred liking.
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