Galbi-jjim (braised beef short ribs) is one of the most popular Korean dishes. It’s made with beef short ribs and is often prepared for special occasions.
Traditionally it’s a dish for special occasions such as Korean festival days like Chuseok, New Year’s Day (Seollal), or family’s birthdays, but you can make it for any occasion or as a weekend dish. It’s kind of a challenging recipe but the result is amazing: the meat is almost falling off the rib bones and is tender, sweet, savory, and irresistible.
This is a recipe from my new cookbook, Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking, and it’s the first recipe I am posting in 2020, a remake of a recipe and video from 2008! This one is even more traditional than the one I posted 12 years ago, and includes ginkgo nuts, pine nuts, chestnuts and jujubes.
Choose good quality short ribs for this recipe, with lots of meat attached to the ribs. Remove the blood, excess fat, and impurities by soaking and blanching the ribs. If you skip this process, the final dish may smell off. Peak season for chestnuts is late fall, so if you use fresh chestnuts, that’s the best time. Fresh frozen skinned chestnuts are available all year round though, and available in the frozen section of Korean grocery stores. They also sell frozen ginkgo nuts, if you can’t find fresh ones.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and make it for your friends and family! If any special guests coming over this will be a colorful center piece on the table. It’s January 5, 2020! I hope you are having a happy new year so far, and a prosperous and healthy new decade, too!
For the seasoning sauce and vegetables:
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, washed and soaked in 2½ cups cold water for 3 to 4 hours, until soft
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup mirim (aka mirin), or water
- ¼ cup sugar (white or brown, or swerve)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger
- 1 medium size Korean radish (8 ounces to 12 ounces) or daikon, peeled
- 2 large, thick carrots, peeled
For the beef short ribs:
- 2 pounds beef short ribs (8 pieces), rinsed and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes to 1 hour, changing water a couple of times
- 12 peeled frozen chestnuts or fresh chestnuts (see how to skin fresh chestnuts below; frozen are sold pre-skinned)
- 2 tablespoons rice syrup
- 8 large dried jujubes, pitted
- 12 pine nuts, tips removed (optional)
- 12 frozen ginkgo nuts, shelled and cooked (optional); see how to shell and cook ginkgo nuts below
How to skin fresh chestnuts:
- Lay the chestnut on the flat side and slice off the flat end, then slice off the pointed end.
- Using a paring knife, slice down both of the narrower sides, removing the dark skin inside the shell.
- Peel off the remaining shell with your fingers. Trim away the dark skin on the outside of the chestnut so that it is a uniform creamy color.
How to cook ginkgo nuts:
- Heat about 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add some shelled ginkgo nuts.
- Add some salt and stir-fry until the skins loosen and the color of the nuts changes to golden or bright green.
- Transfer to paper towels, fold the paper towels over the nuts, and gently massage the nuts to remove more skin.
Make the seasoning sauce and vegetables:
- After soaking the mushrooms, place a strainer over a bowl and drain.
- Measure out 2 cups of the soaking water. If it can’t make 2 cups, fill it with cold water. Transfer to a medium bowl; discard the remainder if you have.
- Add the soy sauce, mirim, sugar (or swerve), ground black pepper, garlic, and ginger and mix well with a spoon. Set the seasoning sauce aside.
- Remove the stem from each mushroom and reserve for future use, like stir-fried rice. Cut each mushroom cap into quarters and transfer to a plate.
- Cut the radish into 1½-inch cubes and round the edges of each cube with a paring knife to make approximately 1-inch balls. Make 10 to 12 balls. Add to the plate with the mushrooms.
- Cut the carrots into 1½-inch cubes and round the edges of each cube with a paring knife to make approximately 1-inch balls. Make 10 to 12 balls. Add to the mushrooms and radish balls.
Cook the beef short ribs:
- Fill a large, heavy pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Drain the ribs, rinse again, and add to the boiling water.
- Blanch for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Wash the pot with soapy water nicely.
- Put the ribs back to the pot and add the seasoning sauce. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms, chestnuts, radishes, and carrots. Cover, turn down the heat to low, and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the jujubes and rice syrup.
- Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the meat is just about falling off the bone. Thicker short ribs will take longer. To check, poke the meat with a wooden skewer. If the meat is tender enough to serve, the skewer should go through easily. If it does not, add some water (about 1 cup) and cook a little longer, anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the short ribs.
- Increase the heat to high and spoon any remaining broth from the bottom of the pot over the meat and vegetables for a few minutes, until most of the sauce has reduced and the meat and vegetables are nicely glazed.
- Transfer to a large platter, sprinkle with the pine nuts (if using) and ginkgo nuts (if using), and serve with rice and more side dishes.