Rich, savory, fall-off-the-bone tenderness. Galbi Jjim is the decadent dish that says, “I love you. You are special to me.” Make this recipe for all the people you love!
If you love Korean food, you’ve probably eaten Galbi. LA style Galbi, grilled tableside at Korean restaurants, is one of the most delicious foods ever.
Galbi Jjim is the hearty, stewy version. Thick beef ribs are braised with dates, daikon, and lots of pureed onion, garlic, and ginger. The dish is pure magic: saucy, deep richness that begs to be spooned over rice. Tender, luscious chunks of beef that fall off the bone.
Galbi Jjim is typically enjoyed during the fall and winter. All that braised deliciousness is perfect for cold, snowy winters!
Yes, it takes a long time to make. Yes, you’ll need to make an extra trip to the Asian grocery store. But is it worth it? Of course it is!!
Why is Galbi Jjim so special?
For Koreans, beef carries a culturally significant place at the table. Beef, above all other meats, is considered the most luxurious meat.
Historically, beef was not commonly eaten in Korea. If you look on a map, Korea is a mountainous peninsula with little arable land for cattle grazing. That, combined with a long and violent history of hostile takeovers (colonization, war, etc.), made beef a rare and precious commodity. Beef was considered extravagant food.
As a Korean American who grew up in the states, Galbi Jjim was usually served at church potlucks and special occasion events — Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays. We didn’t eat Galbi Jjim on the regular. And when we did, it was usually a very small portion.
Nowadays, I love to make Galbi Jjim for Chuseok or Dinner with Friends. It’s such a special dish. Enjoy!
Where to find Beef Short Ribs:
Beef short ribs are expensive. That’s partly what makes this recipe so special. In my part of the world (Toronto, Canada), there are 4 places where you can purchase beef short ribs:
- Korean Grocery Store
- Asian (Chinese) Grocery Store
- Regular Grocery Store
- Boutique Butcher Shop
Korean Grocery Stores (Galleria, H Mart): Korean grocery stores carry beef short ribs perfect for making Galbi Jjim. Meaty ribs, evenly marbled, trimmed fat. It’s easy enough to pick up pre-packaged short ribs from the meat aisle. However, the price point is quite high at $24.99/lb (CAD prices, 2019).
Asian Grocery Stores (T & T, etc.): Chinese grocery stores also carry beef short ribs. They are not pre-cut. Instead, they come in large, 3-rib long portions. Look for them in the butcher section, behind the glass case.
The price point is quite low at $6.99/lb and they’ll even go on sale for $5.99/lb (CAD prices, 2019). However, the meat is not consistently marbled and there’s lots of fatty edges to trim. Ask the butcher to cut through the bone into 3-inch sections. Short ribs bought at the Chinese grocery store requires more work but you really can’t beat the price.
Regular Grocery Stores (No Frills, Loblaws, Fred Meyer, Albertsons): local grocery stores also carry beef short ribs. The cut is similar to the Korean Grocery Store and with a similar price point, although somewhat smaller and less meaty. However, they are not consistently available. Sometimes they’re there, sometimes they’re not. I’ve seen them packaged in the meat aisle and I’ve also seen them in the butcher section, behind the glass case.
Boutique Butcher Shops: I’ve never bought beef short ribs from a boutique butcher shop but I’ve seen them. They look wonderful — thick, meaty, and evenly marbled with fat. I like to think of them as the Rolls Royce of beef short ribs. At $38.99/lb, they should be!
How to Make Galbi Jjim (aka Korean Braised Short Ribs):
First, soak the beef ribs in cold water. This is an important step in Korean cooking to remove the the excess blood from the meat.
Drain and rinse well. Add pureed onion, garlic, ginger, apple or pear. Add soy sauce, sugar, dates, mirin and water. Give it a good stir.
Bring to a boil then lower heat, cover, and simmer vigorously until the meat looks shrunken but is still bouncy and a little tough. Not done yet, but almost there.
Add daikon and carrot. Simmer vigorously (covered) for 30-45 more minutes.
UNCOVER and simmer vigorously for 15-30 more minutes to reduce the sauce.
What does a vigorous simmer look like? This is not a low simmer, with 1 or 2 bubbles coming up from the liquid. This is a vigorous simmer, with lots of little bubbles coming to the surface. Bring to a boil first, then lower heat to maintain a gentle yet vigorous bubbling.
When the Galbi Jjim is done, the meat and vegetables should be tender, the sauce thick and clinging to the ribs. Watch carefully so the sauce does not reduce too much.
Serve hot with rice and kimchi. Enjoy!
Galbi Jjim aka Korean Braised Short Ribs
- Dutch oven or Large Stockpot
- Food processor
- 4 lbs beef short ribs
In Food Processor:
- 1 large onion (peeled + cut into chunks)
- 1 pear or apple (peeled, cored, cut into chunks)
- 8 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 inch ginger (peeled + cut into chunks)
In Dutch Oven:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Mirin (Korean sweet cooking wine)
- 2 cups water
- 5 dried red dates (I used deseeded ones), optional
- 1 lb Korean radish or daikon (peeled + cut into 1-inch half moons)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled + cut into large chunks)
- First, soak the beef ribs in cold water for 30 minutes. This is an important step in Korean cooking to remove the the excess blood from the meat.
- Meanwhile, puree the onion, garlic, ginger, pear or apple in a food processor. (Alternately, you can mince the garlic and ginger and grate the onion and pear/apple on a box grater.)
- Drain water and rinse well. Add pureed onion, garlic, ginger, pear/apple. Add soy sauce, sugar, dates, mirin, and water. Give it a good stir.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer vigorously (covered) until the meat looks shurnken but is still bouncy and not tender, about 1 hour. The braising liquid should look like it's soaked into the meat but there should be a lot of liquid in the pot.
- Add daikon and carrot. Simmer vigorously (covered) for another 30-45 minutes, until the meat is tender and some of the smaller ribs have detached from the bone. The daikon and carrot should also be soft.
- UNCOVER and simmer vigorously for 15-30 more minutes to reduce the sauce. The sauce should be thick and clinging to the ribs. Some people like to prefer a more liquid-y sauce so feel free to reduce to your preference.
- Garnish with green onion. Serve hot with rice and kimchi.