My Korean friend Sun recently introduced me to one of her favorite dishes, Kalbee. Kalbee (sometimes spelled Galbi) is a very easy Korean dish made from beef short ribs which are marinated overnight, then quickly grilled. They are usually served with rice, (regular or sticky) and condiments such as kimchee or pickled vegetables. If you like a little fire in your food, you can also add a dab of Ssamgiang (a mixture of Korean Chile paste and fermented soybean paste), which is available ready made at most Asian groceries, especially those specializing in Korean food. Asian Cabbage Salad would also be a delicious accompaniment.
Although short ribs are available in most supermarkets, this recipe works best with short ribs that are cut “California style” or "L.A. style.” These specially cut ribs, which have a small bone on one end, are available in the meat department of most Asian grocery stores. Or, most local butchers will cut a rack of ribs thinly (about 1/4" thick) across the bone for you (see the picture). The small bone not only makes the tasty meat easy to eat with fingers or chopsticks, but meats are more flavorful when cooked with the bones attached. The pieces of meat are fairly small, which also makes them perfect to serve as an appetizer at a party.
The ingredients for the marinade are readily available at your local grocery store. Both the Asian pear and the white wine in the marinade work to tenderize the shortribs.
Preparation notes: You can mix the meat with the marinade up to three days ahead. Hands-on time for this recipe is about 10 minutes to assemble the marinade ingredients and run them through the blender, a minute or two to wash and prepare the meat for marinating, and 10 minutes or less for cooking. When it’s time to get dinner on the table, I light the grill as soon as I return home from work. While the grill is heating for about 20 minutes, I start the rice in the rice cooker, set the table and prepare a quick salad or vegetable, then put the meat on to grill; it will take 5-10 minutes total. That way, this entire meal takes less than 30 minutes; perfect for a busy weeknight!
Korean Grilled Short Ribs
2 pounds beef short ribs, cut California Style
1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar
1 Asian pear, peeled and chopped, or 1/2 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup rice wine, or substitute dry sherry or dry white wine
4 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed chili pepper
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 quarter size pieces fresh ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 sliced green onions
Wash the short ribs thoroughly with water, rubbing your fingers over the bones to make sure any small bits of bone are removed. Place the ribs in a gallon-size Ziploc bag.
Mix the marinade ingredients in the blender and pour the mixture over the ribs. Seal the bag, massage the ribs so that the marinade is evenly distributed, and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.
Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat, then turn the heat down to medium. Place the ribs over the coals and grill until cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side, turning once. Pile the cooked ribs onto a serving platter and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and green onion slices.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 560 Calories from Fat 271
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 48% Protein 26% Carb. 25%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 30 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Cholesterol 99 mg
Sodium 2808 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 36 g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 3% Calcium 0% Iron 28%