If I was asked to pick one dish that will make anyone fall in love with Korean food, I’d without a doubt pick “Galbijjim”, soy sauce braised beef short ribs. This melt-in-your mouth beef dish is sweet, savory, luxurious, festive and comforting all at the same time and often eaten at Chuseok (Mid Autumn festival) and Lunar New Year in Korea. When my husband met my family for the first time before we got married, my mom made this dish, which was his favorite Korean food at that time. My mom is a great cook and she also got a little help from her auntie who was running a successful Korean restaurant back then. Needless to say mom’s galbijjim was out of this world. I don’t know whether my husband was too nervous or too stuffed or both but he ended up spending quite a long time in the bathroom after dinner. How embarrassing it must have been for him! But that did not make him lose his love for this dish, it is still one of his favorites to this day.
I remember painfully well how difficult and overwhelming it was for me to make galbijjim for the first time. It was about 14 years ago when I was a student in London. Although I was an enthusiastic cook, I was not a very well organized and efficient cook back then. I spent almost half a day pacing around the kitchen making a huge mess wondering what I’m supposed to do next. Even though the dish came out pretty tasty, I’d subconsciously avoided making Galbijjim again ever since. Especially my tiny Hong Kong kitchen that is barely a quarter of the kitchen I had in London didn’t exactly make me feel confident about making this rather complex dish. But I decided to go for it this year. Between everything that has happened because of the virus and not being able to see our families during the Mid Autumn festival and Christmas holiday, both my husband and I needed some serious pick me up. And thank god my cooking skill has improved a lot over the last 14 years! It was so much easier this time around 🙂 Unlike most of the other Korean foods I post on this blog, Galbijjim with beef is traditionally a non spicy dish. (We normally make spicy galibijjim with pork in Korea). You can add a few chilis like I did if you want a little heat, but it is still super delicious without them. This dish does require some time and effort, like most good things do in life, but I guarantee you will be rewarded in the end.
- Serves 2
- Prep and cook for 3.5 – 4 hours
Meat and others
- 900g/31.8oz. 2-3 inch good quality beef short ribs
- 300g/10.6oz. Mooli/daikon radish
- 300g/10.6oz. Carrots
- 150g/5.3oz. Shitake or any brown Mushrooms
- 1 Leek
- A handful of chestnuts
- A handful of Shishito peppers (optional)
- Shredded red pepper and pine nuts to garnish (optional)
- 300g/10.6oz. Asian pear, peeled & core removed
- 150g/5.3oz. onion
- 1/2 cup. dark soy sauce
- 5 tbsp. Korean mirim or Japanese mirin
- 3 tbsp. mined garlic
- 1 tbsp. grated ginger
- 1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cup. water
- 1-2 Star anise
Puree Asian pear and onion in a food processor. Mix with other ingredients for the sauce except for water and star anise and set aside.
Lightly rinse short ribs 3 times with cold water to remove blood. Add ribs in a pot and pour in enough water to cover the ribs.
Simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Take out cloudy impurity floating on top while simmering.
Rinse under cold running water then let it cool for a few minutes.
With a sharp knife make 2-3 slits in the meat flesh without hitting the bones. Coat with 2/3 of the sauce and leave it to marinate for 1.5 – 2 hours.
Meanwhile cut radish, carrots, mushrooms and leek and set aside.
Add 1 cup of water and star anise. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium-high heat.
Add rest of the sauce, 1/2 cup water, radish and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes – 1hour covered, depending on the size of ribs. Taste and add more water if necessary, as longer it braises saltier it gets.
When it’s done turn off the heat. Take out star anise if you want (it is kinda pretty so I left it there), garnish and serve.
Dig in and enjoy. You deserve it!