Galbi Jjim (Korean Braised Short Ribs)

published Jan 11, 2023
Galbi Jjim Recipe

These Korean braised short ribs are the definition of umami-rich winter comfort food.

Serves4

Prep30 minutes

Cook2 hours

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Credit: Irene Yoo

Galbi jjim is a dish that’s guaranteed to light up the eyes of everyone at the table. These Korean soy sauce braised short ribs are a triple threat: super unctuous, savory, and sweet, all at the same time. I make galbi jjim for dinner parties year-round, but it’s especially during the winter that I gravitate towards this cozy dish. 

Galbi jjim has historically been a very coveted dish in Korean society. Traditionally galbi, or ribs, were more expensive than other cuts of beef in Korea, so this dish was more often found in royal court cuisine or as banquet food. In modern day, galbi jjim is very much considered a party food, perfect for feeding a crowd.

What Does Galbi Jjim Taste Like?

Galbi jjim is a perfect balance between savory and sweet — the soy sauce in the braising liquid adds a ton of umami while also becoming almost candied as it cooks. The vegetables also break down and help to thicken the sauce, adding to the savory sweetness.

What Cut of Beef Do You Need to Make Galbi Jjim?

Galbi jjim is made with English-style short ribs, where each piece has one bone with a thick cut of meat. This is in contrast to flanken short ribs, which are thinly sliced with three thin bones, more commonly used for L.A. galbi (grilled short ribs). It’s the same type of short rib used for other braised short rib preparations, like beef bourguignon. The thicker cut holds up to long simmering, soaking up the flavorful sauce while the meat gets super tender.

Ask your butcher for “English-style short ribs” about two to three inches thick. You’ll also find these ribs pre-cut and packaged at your local Asian grocery store.

Credit: Irene Yoo

What’s “Jjim” in Korean Cooking?

The jjim technique, steaming or boiling at a medium temperature (often in a sauce to impart seasoning and flavor), can be applied to a wide variety of meats and vegetables. Galbi jjim is traditionally made with beef short ribs, but it can also be made with pork spare ribs.

If You’re Going to Make Galbi Jjim, a Few Tips

  • Make it in advance! This dish gets even better with time, as the sauce sits and soaks into the meat and vegetables. You can cook your galbi jjim a day or two before and reheat over low heat to serve.
  • Keep an eye on the sauce. The ribs cook largely unattended for a long period of time, but be sure to check in on them and stir occasionally to keep the galbi jjim from cooking down too much or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add in a splash of water as needed if the sauce cooks down too much but the meat isn’t quite tender enough.
  • Swap in your favorite vegetables. This recipe calls for carrots, onions, and potatoes, but you can easily substitute other vegetables, particularly root vegetables. Try adding whole cremini mushrooms or chunks of daikon radish.
  • Pair with a starch. The sweet and sticky sauce just begs to be sopped up! Serve your galbi jjim with freshly steamed rice, or more potatoes (I love a mashed potato with this dish). I also like to add noodles or rice cakes directly into the galbi jjim for a one-pot dinner.

Galbi Jjim Recipe

These Korean braised short ribs are the definition of umami-rich winter comfort food.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 2 hours

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds

    English cut bone-in beef short ribs (7 to 10)

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups

    water, plus more for soaking and boiling

  • 2

    medium carrots

  • 10 to 12 ounces

    Yukon Gold, red, or russet potatoes

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1 teaspoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1

    medium scallion

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    toasted white sesame seeds

  • Steamed rice and kimchi, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place 2 1/4 pounds beef short ribs in a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover and let soak for 30 minutes at room temperature.

  2. Meanwhile, mince 3 garlic cloves and place in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk until combined.

  3. Drain the short ribs (reserve the bowl) and place in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough fresh cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil for 10 minutes. Drain the short ribs. Rinse the pot to remove any foam or residue, then return the short ribs to the pot.

  4. Add 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture and 1 1/2 cups water to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 1 hour, flipping the ribs once or twice. Meanwhile, prepare the following, adding each to the reserved bowl as you complete it: Peel and cut 2 medium carrots crosswise about 1/2-inch thick. Peel and cut 10 to 12 ounces potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Peel and cut 1 medium yellow onion into 8 pieces. Thinly slice 1 medium scallion and set aside for garnish.

  5. Add the carrot mixture and remaining sauce to the pot and stir to combine. Partially cover again and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, some bones have separated from the meat, and the vegetables are extremely soft and melting into the sauce, about 1 hour more. If the sauce gets too reduced and is a thicker consistency than gravy, add another 1/4 cup of water.

  6. Remove the pot from the heat. Drizzle 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil over the short ribs. Sprinkle with the scallions and 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds. Serve with rice and kimchi if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: This dish gets even better with time, so it’s great to make a day ahead. Reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating over low heat.