Galbi jjim (Korean braised short ribs) is a nice hearty meal for Sunday dinner or pot luck. The short ribs were braised until fork tender with soy sauce, sugar and vegetables. Savory and sweet with a kick from gochujang (Korean chili paste). Absolutely fantastic!
Do you like spicy food? If you have been following me, you know I didn’t eat spicy food for the longest time. It’s interesting because my mom and my sister loves spicy food. Whenever my family ate together, there was always a small plate of chili oil on the dining table. My mom and my sister would be dipping their food into the chili oil all night, but my dad and I just wouldn’t touch it at all.
After coming to the US, spicy food and I never cross path. I didn’t have any spicy condiments at home and I didn’t order any spicy food when dining out either. Things started to change when my sister moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. My sister adores Korean food. When you go to a Korean restaurant, it’s almost impossible to avoid spicy food. First, start with kimchi. Then there are other spicy banchan (side dishes). Soon dubu jjigae (silken tofu stew), bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), and tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes) are all spicy. Although we always ask for mild, they are still very spicy (at least to me). After eating all these food again and again, I have started to build up my tolerance for spicy food.
As I’m opening up myself to all variety of spicy ingredients or condiments, I realize it’s not only about the spiciness. Many of the times, these ingredients and condiments also bring in other flavors. Jalapeño has a nice and fresh green taste (seeds removed). It’s so good with banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches). Chili garlic sauce has a subtle vinegar flavor which adds a completely different taste to a dish. Gochujang (Korean chili paste) is commonly used in Korean cooking. It’s not only spicy, but also a bit sweet and smoky. By building up my tolerance for spicy food, I’m also re-exploring all the dishes I have tried before in a brand new way!
Today’s recipe is a Korean dish, galbi jjim (Korean braised short ribs). It’s one of those dishes that we tried a few times with my sister. Spicy, but so damn GOOD! My version is of course not as spicy. If you can eat more spicy, adjust by adding more gochujang.
When preparing the short ribs, first soak them in cold water for one hour or so. That is a great way remove some of the blood in the meat. It is not necessary, but if you have the time, do it. After that, the ribs were brought to a boil with water. That is an important step because it helps to remove most of the blood, fat, and scum. The broth will also be less fatty in the end. Then, the beef was braised with seasoning, like soy sauce and sugar for a long time. When the beef is almost tender, cook the potatoes and carrots until they are just soft. Spice up the dish with some gochujang and add some chewy texture with rice cakes.
This galbi jjim is mild, savory and sweet. The beef was braised until fall off the bones. They were very tender and soaked up all that wonderful flavors from the sauce. This dish is hearty, but not overly heavy! Simply delicious! Perfect for Sunday dinner or pot luck! Enjoy!
Galbi Jjim (Korean Braised Short Ribs)
- 2½ pounds bone-in beef short ribs
- ¾ medium onion (cut into wedges)
- 4 green onions (cut into 2-inch strips)
- 6 garlic cloves (minced)
- 3½ cups water
- ¼ cup plus 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 red potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 4 ounces Korean rice cake (optional)
- 1½ – 3 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1 green onion (for garnish, finely chopped)
- sesame seeds (for garnish)
- For the short ribs, trim out most of the fat. Make 2 – 3 slits in each piece of meat, which will help the meat to absorb the flavors easier. Soak the meat in a large bowl of cold water for 1 – 2 hours to remove blood.
- Rinse the short ribs under cold water. Transfer to a large pot and fill enough water to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Drain and rinse the ribs with cold water for 3 times. Drain and set aside.
- In another large pot, add 3½ cups water, soy sauce, sugar and honey. Mix well. Add the short ribs. Cook over medium heat with a lid for 20 minutes. Add onion, green onion, garlic and black pepper. Turn the heat to medium-low. Boil with a lid for 1 hour.
- For the potatoes and carrots, peel and rinse. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Add to the pot. Cover partially with a lid and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, if using rice cake, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the rice cake. Cook for about 6 – 7 minutes. Drain and add to the pot of beef.
- In a small heatproof bowl, add ¼ cup of hot cooking liquid and 1½ tablespoons gochujang. Stir to mix well. Return the mixture to the pot. Taste and adjust with more gochujang if desired. Cook without a lid for another 4 – 5 minutes.
- If desired, remove some of the oil on top with a large spoon.
- Transfer the meat, potatoes, carrot, and rice cakes to a large serving bowl. Spoon desired amount of sauce over. Sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice and kimchi.
- Gochujang can be bought in Korean supermarkets or from Amazon.
- Rice cakes come in many different sizes, just like pasta. I used one that looks like snowmen. Normally, it is long and round. You can use any you like. You can find rice cakes in Korean supermarkets and Amazon.
- For leftover rice cakes, you can use them for this dish.