Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Galbi Jjim, Korean braised beef short ribs

  "You are a pretty good mommy." My 7 year old boy suddenly told me the other day.
"Oh! am I?...  what made you say that?" I asked. And this is what he replied.
"Well, most of my friends don't have their Halloween candies anymore because their mommies threw them away. It is January and you still keep them in the cupboard. I know where they are. Thanks for saving them for me, mom!" Then he said, "Can I have one candy?" 
LOL! my darling little munchkin knows how to sweet talk his mother. My secrete compartment of sweet candies that I saved from Halloween was discovered (my secret source of 4pm sugar rush). I better find another safe place to hide them.
I didn't give him a candy but I promised I would make him a yummy dinner.

 I made Galbi Jjim, the Korean style braised short ribs. The meat is so tender that it will fall off the bone and the sauce is just divine to drizzle over rice. Plus the addition of radish, carrots, chestnuts, and dried dates will throw the dish to the roof.
However you need to know that rib meats are usually quite fatty. If you grill them, the fat will drip off. No problem there.  But when you braise them, all the fat will melt into the sauce making the sauce too greasy. You need to pre-treat the fat before you add in.
If you follow the direction I give you, you should be able to succeed making the divine braised beef ribs in authentic Korean way with lower fat. Utterly delicious!

* * * * *

 Here are what you need. Beef ribs, chestnuts, dried dates, radish, baby carrots, pear, ginger, garlic, onion, Kiwi (?), soy sauce, sesame oil and seeds, rice wine, sugar, pepper...

First, cut up the beef so each piece has one rib bone. Cut off excess fat on the outside and give two slits (1/2" deep) on each piece.

Soak them in cold water for 1 hour. Well, this is an optional step to get rid of some blood which cause unpleasant smell. You can skip this step if you don't care.

Boil a pot of water and dump the ribs and cook for 5 minutes.  They need hot bath before the big date. This will get rid of lots of fat and unclean gunk from the bones.

Drain and rinse the ribs with hot water. Discard the bath water, of course.

 Now, gather up some vegetables, etc to make stock.
I used leftover green onion, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorn, green chili. You can add carrots, onions, or whatever to make stock.

 Put the ribs back into the pot with clean water and the above stuff. Cover, boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

 And voila! beautiful stock plus loads of fat getting ready to clog my artery.

 Reserve the ribs, set aside. They look dead and unappetizing but be patient, my fellows.

 This is perhaps one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, the fat separator. So awesome!
Just pour the stock over and wait 1-2 minutes and you will see the fat floating to the top.
(2nd grade science: water and oil don't like each other!)

Pull the trigger and the stock will drain from the bottom. Stop the trigger when it gets near to the fat layer. Almost fat free beef stock! How divine!
If you don't have this gadget, well... patience would be my advice. Just chill the stock until the fat gets hardened. Then scoop off the fat layer.

 Time to move on...  The flavor crew!
Cut up onion, garlic, ginger, kiwi(optional), and Asian pear. Why kiwi?
The acid in kiwi will break down the muscle in beef and yield very tender texture without altering the flavor much. You need a little bit. Keep in mind that too much kiwi will ruin the meat.

 Put them in a blender and puree their lives until smooth.

 In a mixing bowl combine the fruit onion puree with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sugar, and pepper, plus 1 1/2 cup of reserved stock. This will be the base of your sauce in the dish.

 In a braising pot, combine the ribs and the sauce. Cover, boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

 Meanwhile cut up the radish and round the corners. Rounding the edges of radish, carrots, etc will prevent their corners from breaking off, which makes better look and taste in sauce.

 Chestnuts, dates (dried), radish and carrots. I used baby carrots because they already have the nice round corners.  Dates and chestnuts are optional. Dates will add another layer of flavor which I love.

Add them in the pot, stir. Cover and cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes.
(I added 8 dates but I think it was a little too much. 4-5 should be ideal)

 If your sauce seems to be too runny, just uncover a little bit so the steam can escape.
 Make sure everything is soft and tender. (Chestnuts will have some body to it)

 Sprinkle sesame seeds at last.  Done! I highly recommend to sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top when serving. Just perfect finish on the dish.

Succulent, tender, melt in your mouth, full of flavor, low in fat, and what else to describe?
You probably want to double or triple the recipe because it is SOOOOO good. Leftover is even better. Just reduce the amount of sauce a little bit when you double up the recipe. With all the work you put in, you'd better share with someone you love.

Your husband will thank you, 
Your kiddos will thank you, 
Your father and mother will thank you,
Even your artery will thank you,
And of course, you tummy will thank you the most...

Bon appetit!

Galbi Jjim
(갈비찜, Korean braised short ribs)
makes 2-3 servings

2 1/2 lb beef short ribs
1/2 lb Korean or daikon radish, peeled and cut up to 1 1/2" chunks
1/2 lb baby carrots
4-5 dried dates
6-8 chestnuts, fresh or frozen (optional)

6 cups water
any type of onions + garlic + peppercorn + chili(optional) + 2 bay leaves

marinade sauce:
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
1/2 Asian pear, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 kiwi, peeled and cut into chunks
2-3 garlic cloves
1" ginger (about the size of 1 garlic clove), peeled and cut into chunks
7 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp rice wine or mirim
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp toasted sesame seed
3 Tbsp chopped walnuts

Cut the ribs into 3 sections so that each piece should have one rib. Cut off the outer fat from the pieces and give two slits (1/2" deep) on each. Place them in the bowl with cold water and soak them for 1 hour to remove some blood. Drain.

Bring to boil a pot of water and cook the ribs for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with hot water. (This will clean the meat and get rid of unclean ingredients coming from the bones) Discard the water.
Put the ribs back into the pot and pour 6 cups water and the other stock ingredients. Boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the stock through fat separator, reserve the beef and 1 1/2 cup of stock (Rest of stock can be used for other purpose). Discard the other stuff.

In a blender, puree onion pear, kiwi, garlic, ginger until smooth. Put the purees in a mixing bowl and add the rest of marinade ingredients plus the reserved stock. Mix well.
In a braising pot, combine the ribs and the marinade, bring to boil and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes covered. Add the radish, carrots, chestnuts and dates to the pot. Continue to simmer for another 20 -30 minutes. If the sauce seems too runny, open the lid slightly so the steam can escape.
Braise until everything gets soft and tender and the marinades get thickened. (The chestnut will have some body when bite to it)

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped walnut when serving. Serve warm with rice.

Note: Need to double the recipe? just increase amount of marinade by 1 1/2 times rather than 2 times.

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