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!
Recipe follows after the jump…
KOREAN BRAISED SHORT RIBS (GALBI JJIM)
* 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
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.