Korean BBQ: Ko-Rican Sauce

PREP TIME 10 minutes
MAKES 1½ cups

Once I married a Puerto Rican woman, my food became what we call a little Korican, and that’s what this sauce is all about. I learned this recipe from my mother-in-law, Dolores Alicea, aka Doe or Lola. Let me tell you, the best Puerto Rican restaurant in town is her house! When I tasted her turkey lechon at our first Thanksgiving together, it was all over for me. The bright flavors, the spiciness from the garlic, the tanginess from the vinegar—everything was new to me. From the moment I tasted her sauces, I knew I had to learn how to make them. I never put vinegar in my marinades until I met Lola, but I understood why cooks put alcohol in marinades, and this is similar: it tenderizes and accentuates the flavors. Now, her cooking is part of my DNA. I had to add it to my arsenal of kitchen techniques, but of course, I made a few changes to kung fu it.


2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
¼ cup salt
½ cup distilled white vinegar (see note)
26 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil

NOTE: Distilled white vinegar is made from grains, and sometimes those grains contain gluten. Based on the findings of countless tests done by leading celiac associations, the distillation process has been proven to remove traces of gluten from distilled vinegar. If you have any questions or concerns, please refer to this article on vinegar by the Gluten-Free Dietitian.


1. Combine the paprika, oregano, chili powder, curry powder, salt, vinegar, garlic, and oil in a small bowl and whisk until well mixed.

2. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months (see note).

NOTE This sauce won’t fully harden when frozen, so you can spoon out as much as you need whenever you want to use it.




Images and recipes courtesy of Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright 2018 by Bill Kim and Chandra Ram. 


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