Kalbi Jjim

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Meats | Kalbi Jjim Image

(Korean braised beef short ribs)

Kalbi jjim is a favorite comfort food for Koreans. Beef short ribs are slowly simmered in a sweet-salty broth until they are practically falling off the bone. Vegetables and sometimes chestnuts enrich the mix and provide a satisfying meal for a cold winter day. Other spellings include galbijjim and kal bi chim.

Image Creative Commons by jetalone

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Beef short ribs, bone-in, 1-inch thick, trimmed of excess fat -- 2 pounds
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 cloves
  • Pear, peeled, cored and chopped (optional) -- 1
  • Sugar -- 2 tablespoons
  • Water -- 3 cups
  • Soy sauce -- 1/4 cup
  • Sesame oil -- 1 tablespoon
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 3
  • Potatoes or daikon, peeled and chopped -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Chestnuts (optional), peeled -- about 10
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste

Method

  1. Add the ribs to a large pot and add cold water to cover. Set aside to soak for about 1 hour. Drain the ribs, discarding the water. This step helps remove blood from the ribs that could cloud the sauce.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, pear if using, sugar, 3 cups water, soy sauce and sesame oil to the pot with the ribs. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for another 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Skim accumulated fat off the top occasionally, and add water as necessary to keep the braising liquid from reducing too much.
  3. Add the carrots, potatoes or daikon and chestnuts if using and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.
  4. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve over steamed rice.

Variations

  • For your short ribs, you can use either a thick (about 2 inches) English cut or a thin (1/2 inch) flanken cut. Substitute pork spare ribs (dweji galbi) if you like.
  • Asian pears are usually used to add a fruity sweetness to the sauce, but you can substitute a firm Bosc or d'Anjou pear. Or the pear can be eliminated altogether.
  • Use mirin instead of sugar for sweetening. Use about 1/4 cup, or to your taste.
  • Experiment with different vegetables: shiitakes, ginko nuts, cabbage.
  • Garnish individual portions with toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds.
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