Galbijjim is typically served on traditional holidays and special occasions in Korea. It is a definite favorite at our house.
In contrast to the braising method typical in Western cooking, with Korean cuisine you do not sear meat before braising. Instead, the ribs are first parboiled in water with the aromatic vegetables and then braised in a sweet and savory braising liquid. Parboiling is a traditional technique, favored by Koreans, to remove excess fat and blood from the ribs. I boil the ribs in a small amount of water and use the resulting stock in the braising liquid so as not to lose the flavor of the ribs during parboiling.
Chestnuts, dates, pine nuts, and gingko nuts are traditional garnishes that make this dish look very elegant. But, the ribs will still be delicious without them. These juicy, succulent ribs in a rich sauce will be perfect for any of your special occasions! Then again, why wait for a special occasion to make this tasty comfort food?
*Note: For slightly less sweet short ribs, use 1 less tablespoon.
**Note: At this time, adjust the heat level and cooking time, depending on how tender you want your ribs to be and how much sauce you like to have. Use medium-low heat and additional time for more tender meat with more sauce. Likewise, you can increase the heat to medium to reduce the sauce more quickly.
Mix together all of the braising liquid ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Rinse the ribs and let them sit in cold water for about 30 minutes to draw out excess blood. Drain. In a 5- to 6-quart pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the ribs, onion, ginger, garlic, and scallions.
Return it to a gentle boil, uncovered. Skim off any impurities that rise to the top. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Drain, and reserve 2 ½ cups of the stock.
Strain the stock and skim off the fat. (Refrigerating the stock will help the fat solidify for easier removal. If you have room in the freezer, the process will go faster.) Return the ribs to the same pot. Pour the braising liquid over the meat. Set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes.
Next, add the reserved stock to the marinated ribs. Cover and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the radish, mushrooms, and carrots. Continue to simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.
Stir in the optional garnish ingredients. Return to simmer, uncovered this time, for an additional 10-20 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the meat is tender but not falling apart.** Remove from the heat and serve.