Spicy Galbi Jjim aka Spicy Korean Pork Ribs

Non-traditional. Decadently saucy. Ooey-gooey with cheese. Cozy and comforting. Spicy Galbi Jjim is all kinds of savory deliciousness!

spicy galbi jjim in a black pot, with cheese

Not too long ago, I ordered Spicy Galbi Jjim at a Korean restaurant. I’d never heard of it before so I was curious.

Regular Galbi Jjim is a Korean classic. If you like Korean food, chances are you’ve eaten it. Tender, braised beef. Rich sauce flavored with soy sauce, garlic, onion and daikon. The flavor profile is salty, sweet, and garlicky. It’s NOT a spicy dish.

How would Spicy Galbi Jjim compare?

black pot filled with spicy galbi jjim with another bowl on the side

Spicy Galbi Jjim is, well, spicy. With little pork ribs swimming in a sea of fiery red sauce. The pork feels lighter, the spicy sauce more potent and intense. There’s a saturated decadence to the onion-garlic-gochujang sauce that’s been stewed into oblivion.

Regular Galbi Jjim is rich and opulent, as bone-in, beef short ribs are apt to be. It’s the kind of showy, extravagant, formal dish that says: I went all out for you!

By contrast, Spicy Galbi Jjim is understated. It feels more casual and intimate. All those smears of slick, oily sauce. All those tender little ribs, falling off the bone. It’s the kind of food eaten with your hands, late at night, accompanied by lots of cold beer, with the people who’ve seen you at your best and your worst.

I knew I had to make this dish at home.

spoon pulling cheese from black pot
spoon pulling cheese from black pot

My version ended up being a little extra. Okay, A LOT extra.

First, I added DdukKorean chewy rice cakes.

The French use baguette to sop up sauce, the 4th utensil as it were. We Koreans have dduk. These squishy rice cakes are the perfect accompaniment to a long-simmered, luscious sauce. Two big handfuls ensured the sauce remained the star of the show.

Plus, something about the bouncy, springy texture of rice cakes makes every dish feel like a party. Who doesn’t like biting into soft, chewy pillows of deliciousness?

black shallow dish filled with spicy galbi jjim and little bowls of rice and banchan around it

Also, this dish just begged for some melty mozzarella.

Cheese is the necessary luxury that transforms the most basic Korean dish into something truly spectacular. As a bonus, the cheese pull. This dish proves once again: cheese makes everything better.

Spicy, tender ribs Slick with rich sauce. Chewy rice cakes. Oozy, melty cheese. A cozy combination that’s perfect for cold winter nights!

PIN FOR LATER:

spicy galbi jjim in bowl with wooden spoon on side

How to make Spicy Galbi Jjim aka Spicy Korean Pork Ribs:

First, parboil the baby back pork ribs.

Koreans parboil meat bones to get rid of all the greasy bits that float to the surface. The result? Cleaner, less gamey-tasting meat. Unmuddled flavors: pork that tastes like pork, sauce that tastes like sauce.

How to parboil: Cover pork bones with enough water to just cover. Boil furiously for 5 minutes. You will see scum and bits of fat floating to the surface and blood leaking out of the bones.

Drain the bones in a colander. Wash the pot with soap and water (there will be lots of fat and scum sticking to the sides). Rinse the bones and add back to the freshly cleaned pot.

Add water and sauce ingredients. Give it a good stir. Simmer (covered) until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

Uncover and simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces, about 20 more minutes.

Meanwhile, prep the rice cakes by soaking in some cold water. (If they are fresh rice cakes, this is not necessary. Koreans usually store rice cakes in the freezer. Soaking in cold water helps to defrost them.)

Add rice cakes and simmer (covered) until they are al dente — soft but still chewy, about 5 minutes. Turn the rice cakes around and squish them down into the sauce.

Off the heat, add the mozzarella. Cover until the cheese melts into pools of gooey deliciousness, about 5 minutes. Garnish and eat immediately. Serve with rice and kimchi. Enjoy!

spicy galbi jjim in a black pot, with cheese
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Spicy Galbi Jjim aka Spicy Korean Pork Ribs

Non-traditional. Decadently saucy. Ooey-gooey with cheese. Cozy and comforting. Spicy Galbi Jjim is all kinds of savory deliciousness!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: Galbi Jjim, Pork Ribs, Spicy
Servings: 4
Author: The Subversive Table | Lis Lam

Equipment

  • Shallow Braiser
  • Colander

Ingredients

  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs, cut into individual ribs (about 2-3 lbs)

Braising sauce:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inch ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Gochukaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 2 Tbsp Gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin or rice wine (Korean sweet cooking wine)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cups water

Additional:

  • 2 cups dduk or Korean rice cakes
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
  • 1 green onion, chopped (for garnish, optional)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (for garnish, optional)

Instructions

  • First, parboil the pork ribs. Cover pork ribs with enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil then boil furiously for 5 minutes. You will see scum and bits of fat floating to the surface.
    parboiled pork ribs in shallow braiser pan covered with water
  • Drain the bones in a colander. Wash the pot with soap and water (there will be lots of fat and scum sticking to the sides). Rinse the bones and add back to the freshly cleaned pot.
    parboiled pork ribs in shallow braiser
  • Add water and sauce ingredients. Give it a good stir. Simmer (covered) until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes. Poke the meat with a fork to check for tenderness. If the fork slides into the meat easily, it's tender enough.
    parboiled ribs covered in sauce ingredients, ready for cooking
  • Uncover and simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces, about 20 more minutes.
    pork ribs in spicy red sauce that's been reduced
  • Meanwhile, prep the rice cakes by soaking in some cold water. (If they are fresh rice cakes, this is not necessary. Koreans usually store rice cakes in the freezer. Soaking in cold water helps to defrost them.)
    rice cakes in white bowl with water
  • Add rice cakes and simmer (covered) until they are al dente — soft but still chewy, about 5 minutes. Turn the rice cakes around and squish them down into the sauce to soak up the flavors.
    Korean spicy pork ribs (spicy galbi jjim) with cooked rice cakes
  • Off the heat, add the mozzarella. Cover until the cheese melts into pools of gooey deliciousness, about 5 minutes. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with rice and kimchi. Enjoy!
    black serving dish filled with spicy galbi jjim

Notes

*This dish is not really that spicy. It’s only mildly spicy, according to my opinion. :) The rice cakes and the cheese dilute the spiciness factor. Make sure to spoon up the sauce over the ribs to really taste the spiciness. If you’d like it spicier, I suggest adding 1-2 Tbsp more Gochukaru.

More Braised Korean Deliciousness:

Galbi Jjim aka Korean Beef Short Ribs

bowl of galbi jjim (Korean braised short ribs) with rice on grey napkin and wood table

Bossam aka Korean Braised Pork Belly

korean boiled pork (bossam) on platter, close up

Dubu Jorim aka Spicy Braised Tofu

dubu jorim in shallow bowl with kimchi and rice on the side
All Recipes, Braised, Dinner with Friends, Gochujang, Holiday, Korean, Main, Pork, Potluck

5 Comments

  1. Hello! Recipe looks delish! I’m interested in making this dish using beef short ribs instead, how would I go about cooking it? I’m assuming the cooking times would vary and be similar to the traditional galbi jiim recipe? Thanks in advance!

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this today as written and it was amazing and so simple to whip up. Definitely adding this to my rotation. Thank you for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight with 2lbs of cut spare ribs. The sauce was so delicious- added a little sambal oelek, but otherwise made as is. Thank you for this- will definitely make it again.

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