Yook hwe is basically a Korean steak tartar. It’s traditionally served with thin batons of asian pear, salt and sesame oil. Sometimes pinenuts or crushed pinenut to garnish. Make sure you have high quality meat (the cut is called beef eye round) and that your pear is super juicy, ripe and crunchy. At the Korean market they have prepackaged cuts of beef eye round labeled also in Korean as yook hwe.
I started by prepping the pear. This pear cost $4.60! Seriously. Anyhow so I got that crazy pear, sliced it thin, then sliced it again lengthwise to get thin batons. You want about a two-to-one ratio of pear to meat. Then I cut the garlic into very very small strips. You want to cut it like this rather than mince it for the aesthetic value. Use a sharp knife though and mind your fingers.
I wanted to freeze the meat a bit so that it would be easy to cut it into shreds but I didn’t have the time so I got going on it. I would recommend freezing it enough to facilitate the cutting if you’re going to give this dish a go. When you’re done with the meat add sesame oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Keep the meat cold in a chilled bowl and try to do this with some speed so your fingers don’t warm up the meat too much. Sesame oil is very strong so use a little bit at a time and keep tasting until it tastes good to you. The meat should have a glossy delicious looking layer of oil. Mine should have had a touch more sesame oil if you can tell from the pics.
Now the plating.. carefully lay the pear on a plate and make a well in the middle. Place a mound of meat making sure garlic is distributed evenly and a few are at top to make it pretty. Then sprinkle the top with the pinenuts or crushed pinenut. You can just eat this simply with a chopstick or even better, on Korean perilla leaves.
Man this was sooo good! I was just going to have a taste and take a picture but my mom insisted that we eat it. So we did and it was a happy time. The super juicy pear lived up to its crazy price and the meat was so fresh. I loved the nuttiness that the pinenuts added on top of the distinctly nutty sesame oil. And a bite of green from the perilla leaves added another layer of deliciousness.