Saturday, January 14, 2023

My Version of Galbijjim

After my too-spicy attempt at Budaejjigae from the BTS Recipe Book, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to try another recipe from it. I realized that there were recipes that did not require anything too spicy so I decided it would be best to wean myself back into it by choosing a non-spicy recipe. This time around I tried Galbijjim. 

Galbijjim is braised beef short ribs and, according to Korean Bapsang, is served on traditional holidays and special occasions in Korea. I am not used to cooking beef, so this was a first for me. I had to ask my sister for advice when I was making this because I wasn’t sure if it was going to turn out right.

As with my previous recipe, I had to multiply by 2 the amounts in the recipe from the book because I was serving it for more people than what was indicated. Here is the recipe based on what I had used since some ingredients were (again) not available to me at the time of cooking:


  • 4kg bone-in beef short ribs
  • 3 carrots (recipe called for Korean radish too but since I couldn’t find any, I added more carrots)
  • Green onions, chopped for garnish (recipe required leeks but again, none were available so just used what I had on hand from another dish we had at home)
  • 6 cups water (I might have added a little more since there seemed to be too many ribs to cook)
  • ½ cup soju (recipe needed cheongju, and I continue to assume that this is the same thing until someone corrects me!)


  • 1 ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (the recipe said toasted sesame oil, but we didn’t have that)
  • Black pepper to taste

According to the recipe book, the ribs should be soaked in cold water for two hours and then washed thoroughly. Instructions were to remove any bone fragments and trim off the fat. My sister advised me against trimming off the fat since there would not be much beef left if I did so I kept it on (which may have been a bad idea, more on that later). 

The carrots were chopped into cubes and then set aside along with the chopped green onions. The sauce ingredients were all mixed in a bowl and set aside.

After two hours, the ribs, water, and soju were placed in a pot to boil. My sister had commented that I had too little water to cook the beef, so I added more than the required six cups (again, another possible mistake to explain later). Once the water started boiling it was simmered for 40 minutes. I started to remove the foamy and oily parts from the soup while this was going on. 

The recipe said to just simmer for 40 minutes then I could add the sauce and the vegetables, but I did not do that. The beef was still not soft enough to eat so I asked my sister for help on how long to keep it cooking first. This was when she helped me to use a pressure cooker to cook the beef for another hour before adding the vegetables and the sauce. I then waited another 20 minutes before I served it to the family. 

The first thing I noticed when I served it was that the sauce was too soupy. I am not sure that it is supposed to be like this based on the pictures I have seen of other people that have prepared this dish. This may be because I added too much water. I am not sure if I did that part right. 

Another issue was that it left a bit of an oily aftertaste after the meal for me, which I think was because I did not trim off the fat as instructed. I am also not sure if the dish was supposed to taste the way that it did to me. I felt that the sauce should have been richer in flavor and not too watery. As I have mentioned in my post about attempting Budaejjigae, having to adjust the portions of the ingredients when you are serving a bigger number of people can be quite challenging and I do not think that I have the knack for it just yet.

Overall, the dish was good, but it was not perfect. Next time I should try cooking according to the portions in the recipe given so that I do not mess things up. 


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