Maeun Kalbi Jjim 매운 갈비찜 (Spicy Braised Beef Short Ribs)

This is a traditional meat dish eaten on special occasions like holidays and large gatherings, often fulfilling the role of favorite dish because of its sweet, tender, and succulent flavors. Most traditional Korean meat dishes like this one take considerable time and preparation (and deservedly so) but that doesn’t mean this dish can’t be made with shortcuts while retaining most, if not all, its original taste and texture. Instead of the time-consuming marination and soaking of the ribs to remove the blood, I just boiled them with a good amount of onion halves, green onions, garlic, and ginger for about 30 minutes. After rinsing, the short ribs were slowly simmered over low heat for at least an hour (the more the better) to get them “fall-off-the-bone tender” while soaking up the sauce ingredients of sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and the unique ingredient daechu, dried dates or jujubes. Everyone has their own method or secret steps to perfecting this dish but the flavors always seem to be consistent.  This is a slightly spicier version with added gochugaru (red pepper flakes), but you are more than welcome to spicier red chili pepper varieties to add extra heat.

Servings: 4 people
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60~75 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2, 3 lbs beef short ribs
  • 2 potatoes, cut into 2-inch balls (if possible)
  • 3 carrots, cut into 2-inch balls (if possible)
  • 7, 8 daechu (jujubes or dried dates)
  • 1 bunch Japanese beech or enoki mushrooms (or shiitake)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or rice wine like mirin)
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 7, 8 bbam (chestnuts if available)
  • 1 tbsp mulyeut (corn syrup) or honey
  • sliced green onion (for garnish)
Directions:
  1. Soak short ribs in cold water in a large bowl for at least 30 minutes to remove residual blood. (Optional step)
  2. In a large pot over high heat, place the beef short ribs with pieces of halved onions, whole garlic, and ginger pieces. Bring to a rapid boil for at least 20~30 minutes while removing scum from surface. When finished save about 2 cups of broth for later use, rinse the beef under cold water, and discard remaining greens and vegetables.
  3. When cool enough to handle, make slits or incisions in each short ribs. Remove or cut away excess fat (optional).
  4. Return the ribs to the pot with 2 cups of the beef broth and sauce ingredients, cooking for at least 1 hour on low heat. Add the golf ball sized potatoes, carrots, dried dates, and mushrooms with 15 minutes remaining and continue to simmer.
  5. Near the end of the hour when most of the broth has thickened or evaporated, add some mulyeot (corn syrup) or honey. The sauce should have a slight syrupy consistency.
  6. Serve on a large platter as main course. Garnish with green onion slices and enjoy with rice and banchan (side dishes).

 

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