Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kalbi (Korean Beef Short Ribs)

Yesterday, I had some errands to run that took me near my favorite Asian market, H-Mart at RT40 and Rolling Rd.  

I needed to replenish my Asian pantry,

but seeing all the wonderful meats, produce and other exotic pickled vegetables (banchan) and other ingredients they have on display inspired me to make my favorite Korean beef dish, Kalbi.   I originally learned to make this dish over 25 years ago from Maria Rhee, a delightful Korean woman who taught Asian cooking at the Baltimore County continuing education program at Dulaney High School. Her marinade adds both spice and sweetness to the highly marbled beef around the ribs that is absolutely delicious when slightly charred on a grill. You just have to make this dish!

Kalbi (Korean Beef Short Ribs)


2 Pounds of thinly sliced short ribs
1.5 Tbs honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Kikkoman regular soy sauce
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbs mirin
2 tsp dark sesame seed oil
1 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
1/4 cup Korean red pepper paste (Gochujang)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 medium sweet onion, diced
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
1 Asian pear, peeled and grated with juices
1 Tbs roasted sesame seeds


Korean short ribs are sawed across the rib bones, so they need to be washed to remove any bone fragments. Place the meat in a large bowl.  Rinse and drain the meat at least three times.

Peel a section of the the ginger root by scraping the skin with a teaspoon. Cut off the peeled piece.

Grate the ginger until it is a puree.  I’m using a ceramic  Japanese ginger grater here, but you can also process it in a food processor.

Slightly crush the garlic cloves with a large knife to loosen and remove the skin.

Mince the garlic cloves with a garlic press.

Mince the onion.

Peel the Asian pear.

Grate the peeled Asian pear with a box grater.

Here is the grated pear.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, red pepper paste and grated Asian pear to a mixing bowl.

Add the water, mirin, sesame seed oil and black pepper.

Add soy sauce

Mix the ingredients until all of the brown sugar has dissolved.  

Cut the scallions into small pieces with a knife or kitchen shears.

Add the scallions to the bowl, then remix mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour the marinade over the meat and toss until all the ribs are thoroughly coated.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Heat grill to high and clean with a grill brush.

Wipe the grates with an oil soaked paper towel to keep the meat from sticking.

Remove the ribs from the marinade and grill until slightly charred, about 3-5 minutes and flip. Grill for another 3-5 minutes..

Cooking time depends on the thickness of the ribs and heat of the fire, so watch them closely.  Remove the cooked meat to a serving bowl and let the meat rest for 5 – 10 minutes.

Pull or cut the cooked meat from the bones.

 Serve the meat wrapped in a section of green leaf lettuce with some bean paste, rice, kimchi and a variety of pickled vegetables (banchan).


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