Photo: Ghost Mart
Galbi Jjim is a braised beef short rib dish, traditionally found in Korean holiday meals or special occasions like birthdays or weddings. It is one of the most iconic Korean dishes with a deep, savory yet sweet flavor. ‘Galbi’ indicates the cut of meat and ‘Jjim’ translates to braising, which is the method of cooking.
Galbi Jjim is one of the dishes that used to be enjoyed among royalty and aristocrats for a long time. Back in the days, Korea was poor and having beef in a meal was an extravagance. Thus, Galbi Jjim was often made with pork. This version of Galbi Jjim was called ‘Dwaeji Galbi Jjim (Pork Galbi Jjim)’. Even to this day, Galbi Jjim is considered a luxury, upscale cuisine enjoyed on special occasions like Chuseok (mid-autumn festival; the biggest traditional holiday in Korea) or Seollal (Korean New Year).
It usually takes hours to cook Galbi Jjim, making it a difficult but rewarding Korean specialty. When making Galbi Jjim, beef short ribs are cooked for many hours in a soy sauce-based broth with carrots, radish, green onion, and potatoes.
Dates, pears, ginkgo nuts, ginseng, and garlic are often added to enhance the deep flavors Galbi Jjim and soften the texture of the meat. These ingredients make the dish satisfying but also healthy and nutritious.
Galbi Jjim has a refined look because of the ribs that are cut to a small size. It also has a unique appearance because of the colorful addition of vegetables.
Variations of this dish include adding rice cakes(tteok) or making it spicy by adding chili spice or kimchi. This spicier version is called ‘Maewoon Galbi Jjim(spicy Galbi Jjim)’. A recently popular variation is adding mozzarella cheese. Sun Nong Dan in Koreatown LA is one of the most famous purveyors of this variation.
Galbi Jjim is very tender and juicy. The best thing about Galbi Jjim is the sauce, which is thick, sweet, and nutty. Because the sauce is so flavorful, it is a beloved dish enjoyed by people of all ages. A well-made Galbi Jjim has meat that is soft enough to easily separate from the bones without the need for a knife. Galbi Jjim when cooked to perfection has light shade of pink and is on the sweeter side of flavor.
When cooking Galbi Jjim, you could add some rice wine or slices of pear for the best texture and taste . Also, adding rice cakes to Galbi Jjim makes it chewy and more enjoyable to eat. Pairing rice with Galbi Jjim is a must since the it is so rich in flavor.
We highly recommend you check out these spots in Koreatown LA for the best Galbi Jjim in tow
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