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Korean Short Ribs – Galbi

Galbi, a cornerstone of Korean cuisine, features succulent beef short ribs marinated in a sweet and savoury blend of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and often pear or apple for tenderising. This dish is traditionally grilled, imparting a delightful char and smoky taste. Galbi is not only celebrated for its depth of flavour but also for its communal dining experience, often enjoyed around a shared grill. Whether served with a side of steamed rice, wrapped in lettuce leaves, or accompanied by various banchan (side dishes), Galbi offers a culinary adventure that’s rich in both taste and tradition.

INGREDIENTS
  • Beef short ribs, Korean style (flanken cut across the bones)
  • 125ml soy sauce
  • 125ml water
  • 60ml brown sugar
  • 60ml rice wine or mirin
  • 1 small Asian pear or apple, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional for garnish: sesame seeds and additional chopped spring onions
METHOD

BBQ Grill Method

  1. Prepare the Ribs: If not already done by your butcher, score the ribs across the meaty part without cutting all the way through. This helps them absorb more flavor and cook more evenly.
  2. Make the Marinade:
    • In a large bowl, mix soy sauce, water, brown sugar, rice wine, grated pear, garlic, ginger, spring onions, sesame oil, and black pepper. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
    • Taste the marinade and adjust the sweetness or saltiness according to your preference.
  3. Marinate the Ribs:
    • Place the ribs in a large, resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish.
    • Pour the marinade over the ribs, making sure they're well coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish.
    • Refrigerate and let the ribs marinate for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight, turning them occasionally to ensure even marination.
  4. Grill the Ribs:
    • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If you're using a charcoal grill, prepare the coals for direct heat cooking.
    • Remove the ribs from the marinade, shaking off excess. Discard the remaining marinade.
    • Grill the ribs for 3-4 minutes per side, or until they're nicely charred and cooked through. The high sugar content in the marinade can cause flare-ups, so keep an eye on them and move them around to prevent burning.
  5. Serve:
    • Let the ribs rest for a few minutes after removing them from the grill.
    • Cut between the bones to separate the ribs.
    • Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions, if desired.
    • Serve with steamed rice, lettuce leaves, ssamjang (Korean dipping sauce), and a selection of banchan (Korean side dishes) for an authentic dining experience.

Oven Baking/Roasting Method:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to a high temperature, around 200°C to 220°C. This high heat will help caramelise the outside of the ribs.
  2. Prepare the Baking Sheet: Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up. You may also place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet to allow heat circulation around the ribs, but it's not mandatory.
  3. Arrange the Ribs: Remove the ribs from the marinade, allowing excess to drip off, and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet or rack.
  4. Bake the Ribs: Place the ribs in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Then, flip the ribs over and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the outside is caramelised and the meat is cooked through. The total cooking time might vary depending on the thickness of the ribs and individual oven characteristics.
  5. Optional Glazing: If you want a bit more glaze, you can brush the ribs with some of the marinade (boil it first to kill any bacteria) halfway through the cooking process. This will add more flavor and a sticky texture to the ribs.
  6. Check for Doneness: Ensure the ribs are cooked through. The meat should be tender and easily pull away from the bone. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should reach at least 74°C.
  7. Rest and Serve: Allow the ribs to rest for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven before cutting and serving. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring the ribs are moist and flavorful.

 

Shop for Ingredients

Flanken Cut Short Ribs

£33.00

Galbi, with its rich, sweet, and savoury flavours, pairs well with a variety of side dishes that complement its taste and offer a balanced meal. Here are some excellent pairings for Galbi:

Side Dishes:

  1. Steamed Rice: A staple in Korean cuisine, steamed rice provides a neutral base that balances the bold flavours of Galbi.
  2. Kimchi: The spicy and tangy flavours of kimchi offer a perfect contrast to the sweet and savoury taste of the ribs.
  3. Lettuce Wraps: Fresh lettuce leaves are used to wrap pieces of Galbi along with rice and sauces, providing a crunchy, refreshing counterpoint to the meat.
  4. Japchae: This sweet potato noodle dish mixed with vegetables and sometimes meat offers a delightful texture and flavor that complements Galbi.
  5. Banchan: A variety of Korean side dishes, such as seasoned spinach, bean sprouts, and cucumber salad, can accompany Galbi, offering different flavours and textures to enhance the meal.

Sauces:

  • Ssamjang: A spicy and savoury Korean dipping sauce made from soybean paste, chili paste, sesame oil, and garlic, perfect for adding an extra flavour kick when eating Galbi.

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Preparation Time: 3 hours
Cooking Time: 30 min

Hot Tips

  1. Marination is Key: Allow your ribs to marinate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. The longer the meat marinates, the more tasty and tender it will become.
  2. Don't Skimp on Garlic and Spring Onions: These ingredients are essential for authentic Galbi flavour. They add depth and aroma to the marinade, infusing the meat with traditional Korean tastes.
  3. Serve with Proper Accompaniments: Enhance your Galbi experience by serving with steamed rice, lettuce leaves, ssamjang (dipping sauce), and a variety of banchan (Korean side dishes).

Pairings

Alcoholic Beverages

  1. Soju: A clear, Korean spirit that is traditionally consumed with Korean BBQ. Its neutral flavor profile complements the savoury and sweet notes of Galbi without overpowering the dish.
  2. Makgeolli: A slightly sweet and tangy Korean rice wine that offers a refreshing contrast to the richness of the meat.
  3. Korean Plum Wine (Maesil-ju): This sweet and fruity wine can complement the flavours of the marinade used for Galbi.
  4. Light-bodied Red Wine: If you prefer wine, a light-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir can pair well with Galbi, as it won't overpower the flavours of the dish.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

  1. Barley Tea (Boricha): A staple in Korean households, barley tea is a great non-alcoholic pairing for Galbi, offering a nutty and slightly bitter flavor that complements the sweet and savoury meat.
  2. Green Tea: The bitterness and earthy notes of green tea can help cleanse the palate between bites of the rich BBQ.
  3. Sparkling Water: A simple glass of sparkling water with lemon can refresh the palate, making each bite of Galbi as enjoyable as the first.

Beer

  1. Korean Beer: A light Korean lager, like Hite or Cass, can cleanse the palate without overwhelming the flavours of the Galbi.

When selecting a drink to accompany Galbi, consider the balance of flavours. The goal is to choose a beverage that complements the sweet and savoury notes of the meat without overshadowing them. Whether you prefer alcoholic or non-alcoholic options, there are plenty of suitable pairings to enhance your Korean BBQ experience.