Come gather for comfort: “galbi jjim” (aka Korean braised short ribs)

Korean short rib stew (galbi jjim)

Maybe I am craving comfort in my life–but these days, my mind has been filled with comfort foods, and my tastebuds are craving them as well, whether they be a bowl of North Korean style chicken soup or a piece of toast with plugra butter or some raw sapporo ichiban ramen (yes, this foodie likes to eat raw ramen in guilty splurges).

There are very few dishes that spell “comfort,” at least in my mind, than a bowl of galbi jjim, otherwise known as braised Korean short ribs. Short ribs are a favorite cut of beef of mine and I love them grilled and in soup, as well as braised in a stew; braised short ribs exist in other cuisines such as Italian cuisine, but my favorite form of this food happens in Korean cuisine. The dish is called “galbi jjim,” and it is incomparable.

(disclosure: I’m Korean–so I may be biased. But then again, this is a fantastic dish and you may probably agree with me in my assessment).

So incomparable is galbi jjim that it is known to be served to special guests of honor on special occasions, though I hardly wait for such occasions. But any dinner with galbi jjim becomes a special occasion as I watch the guests eat the short ribs with great delight, first timers and those familiar with galbi jjim alike.

Through the years, I’ve made my adjustments to a time-old recipe. I’ve found that pre-boiling the short rib pieces makes for very tender pieces of meat, and decreases the amount of fat in the end product. I know that pre-boiling meat is a “no-no” in cooking, but in this case the result (tender short ribs) is so wonderful (and I use the broth so that the flavors do not go to waste) that I can’t refrain from pre-boiling. Plus, it makes for a faster result–otherwise you’ll be braising the short ribs for MUCH longer.

I also like to add various vegetables, depending on my mood. In the past, I’ve added brussel sprouts to the dish to great success and delight. Brussel sprouts, needless to say, are not a traditional ingredient in this dish. Most recently, I added turnips, and they were equally delicious. Carrots and onions and potatoes are the mainstay vegetables, however.

I encourage you to experiment, and enjoy one of my favorite dishes!

Galbi jjim

Recipe follows after the jump…

KOREAN BRAISED SHORT RIBS (GALBI JJIM)

INGREDIENTS:
* 1-3 pounds of english cut short ribs (have the ribs cut into 3-5 inch long pieces)
* corn oil
* sesame oil (about 1-2 tablespoons)
* sweet dessert wine or vermouth (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup or to taste)…or white wine as substitute (but then you will need more sugar)
* soy sauce (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup or to taste)–about an equal amount to the wine
* black pepper (to taste)
* sugar (about a handful or two, to taste)
* several cloves garlic, chopped or minced
* two medium onions, chopped
* several carrots, chopped
* several potatoes, chopped

DIRECTIONS:
Take short ribs and cross cut them (basically make cuts into the beef so they look like “fingers”). Put in large stockpot, add water to cover, and boil. (this is the step that some cooks might cringe at, but it makes the beef more tender and boils the fat out of the beef). Boil for about 10-15 minutes.

Do NOT throw away the short rib stock.

Fetch a dutch oven. Heat. Add about 2 tablespoons corn oil. When hot, add onions and short ribs (no stock, just the short ribs). Saute until onions are golden and short ribs are browned. Add garlic.

Add wine/vermouth (I prefer sauternes, but that is my personal preference).

Add stock from the short rib stock–you will need about 3 cups.

Add the soy sauce and sugar. Then add sesame oil.

Taste the broth, it should not be TOO salty or TOO sweet, but a combination of both, with a healthy dose of sesame taste. Bring to boil.

Add potatoes and carrots (and other veggies such as brussel sprouts and turnips if you so desire).

Simmer, covered, for at least half an hour (i like to simmer for well over an hour, until the meat is falling off the bone, and the potatoes are disintegrating–I keep telling myself to add potatoes later on in the cooking but I keep forgetting), or until potatoes and carrots are tender, and beef is tender. (You may want to simmer longer if you’d like–the longer the better) Add ground black pepper. If broth is too watery, mix a tablespoon of potato starch with about two tablespoons of water in a cup and add to the braised short ribs (while broth is still hot and on a low flame). It will thicken the broth.

Serve with rice.

25 responses to “Come gather for comfort: “galbi jjim” (aka Korean braised short ribs)

  1. I have had the pleasure of making this dish a few times from your recipe and I absolutely love it! The last time I made it, I took the Korean Orchid brand BBQ sauce we bought at Berkeley Bowl and diluted it with some stock and braised in that. VERY close to your recipe in the end but perhaps just a bit too salty.
    Your recipe rocks!

  2. since i am both filipino and chinese, my comfort foods are very varied. the filipino in me seeks the garlic fried rice, adobo and spam (!). the chinese in me wants dimsum, salted fish fried rice, peking duck.

    i love korean food and i love kalbi (although i usually order it grilled style) and mandoo. kimchi jigae. yum! i’m getting hungry… :)~

  3. thanks for posting the recipe. i’m going to attempt to make it very soon!

  4. Interesting! Brussel sprouts! Thanks for your recipe.

    I’m curious — how much marbling do you look for in the short ribs, and do you ever buy them at a Korean grocery store? The stores around me have pretty sketchy meat quality, so I end up at Whole Foods where I’m convinced there is too much marbling…

    Anyway, I’ll give your recipe a go.

  5. Hey JDo–I look for the same amount of marbling that I’d look for in a steak–a good amount, but definitely not gobs of fat, either. And if i do pick up short ribs with lots of fat, I try to trim a bunch of it off.

    The Korean grocery store near me has some GREAT meat sometimes, and some VERY sketchy meat other times…and I am terribly picky about my meat so I too buy at Whole Foods or my local gem of a store called Berkeley Bowl. Then I just have them cut the bones shorter.

    (This is easier to do with short ribs which are a more common cut of beef at mainstream American groceries than it is to do with bulgogi or grilled galbi cuts).

  6. Eating it right now as we speak. :D Meat is tender, broth is a great mix between the sweet and the sour/salty and pours great over rice. Great dish, definetely make it again. Wish I had a dog to handle all the bones from the short ribs and Im almost certain I had this or similar on a trip to Vietnam but whatever the case, glad Tastespotting profiled this. Worth all the effort :9

  7. Lone: so glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Pingback: korea » Blog Archive » Unidentified Flying Chicken - JH

  9. Pingback: korea » Blog Archive » Come gather for comfort: galbi jjim (aka Korean braised short ribs)

  10. ooh! my favorite is my mom’s which includes toasted pinenuts and chestnuts… i am going to have to scurry over and make this tonight. i’ve been craving comfort food all week. thanks C!

  11. pinenuts and chestnuts–brilliant!

  12. yumy pinenuts and chesnuts
    wat about oisobaki (cucumber)

    juat asking

    lol ^u^

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  14. I love Korean Beef Stew and am cooking your recipe now as I type. I agree with your pre-boiling because you can remove the scum that floats on top before preparing the actual stew.

    I might add some sesame seeds in the stew at the end. I’ll heat up the seeds in a dry pan so that the oil comes out then sprinkle it on the final stew for presentation. I’ve eaten this version in some restaurants and am not sure if this is authentic but I do like to see the seeds on top.

  15. PLEASE DONT GIVE THE BONES TO YOUR DOG!!!
    They will splinter and possibly choke your dog or worse if they try to pass them.

  16. Excellent recipe; I suggest as you do, that you cook the ribs 1 hour then add the veg at the last half hour– or at least give the meat a head start for a 1/2 hour to get it meltingly tender.

    I used vermouth and sesame oil at the end (one of us is allergic) and it was delicious, especially with the sprouts. This is a keeper.

  17. Thanks for the recipe – I’ve been trying to cook Jiim ever since I first tried it here in Vancouver. I was using Chinese Yellow Wine (not the salted stuff) – which is about as sweet as a medium sherry and this seems to work quite well. I’ll try a sauterne though, that sounds like it would be a little cleaner taste.

    The different jiim’s I’ve tried in restaurants all use yams or sweet potato in stead of carrots, and so have I. These usually turn to mush pretty quick, so I try the carrots too. (chestnuts too sound like a very good addition)

    I usually add a little heat in the form of some chili’s or cayenne – just enough to know it’s there and viola – never any left-overs – so it must have been good.

  18. I love short ribs! I taught for 2 years in Korea, and miss the food so much–there’s nothing even close to a Korean restaurant in Durango, CO… I tried your recipe a few months ago and it was excellent. Also, on my last trip to Las Vegas, my first night was spent drinking Soju and eating Kalbi at a Korean BBQ. A little pricier than in Seoul, but still delicious…

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  20. Oh My Gosh i so got to try that it looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. it tastes amazing !!!!!

  22. i think galbi jjim is the best food i’ve ever had in my entire life.

  23. Eating it right now as we speak. i personally think that it is wonderful food.

  24. Pingback: Kalbi Jjim | Chef Kimchi

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