Galbitang. I absolutely love this dish! On a cold, monotonous winter day, it’s the perfect soup to get your endorphins running.
In Seoul, there are many speciality galbitang shops. These specialty shops often have deals with local butchers or wholesale meat markets to get high-quality beef at an affordable price. So a bowl of Galbitang costs around 10,000 Won (~$10 USD). Not bad at all 🙂
On the flip side, it costs an arm-and-a-leg to make it at home. You may not know, but Korea has among the highest (if not the highest) average beef prices in the world. A steak-quality beef cut for one person easily goes over $50. So when you see beef on sale in Seoul – I go full carpe-diem mode!
The key taste variable in this dish is the broth. The flavor comes primarily from the natural juices of the Korean radish. It tastes light and has a slight sweet after-taste.
Galbitang also brings back memories from my childhood. When I was living in the States, I had two dogs. And they loved to gnaw on rib bones. So whenever I ate galbitang at Korean restaurants, I always thought about how to bring the leftover bones home. I cringed at the thought of getting caught trying to sneak-out leftover bones from a restaurant. But if it was for my dogs – I needed to get creative.
My go-to strategy was to leave about a 1/3 of the soup. Then ask the waiter to package the leftover in a go-to box. It was mental battle to stop eating! One day, when I went to eat the soup with my sister, she bluntly asked the waiter to put the leftover bones in a to-go box. She didn’t look phased or didn’t think anything of it. I asked her don’t you think its a bit embarrassing? My sister replied: I paid for the bones too! #GirlBoss
Galbitang - Short Ribs Korean Stew
Yield 3 servings
Korean short ribs are slowly boiled in a broth with Korean radish, onions and spring onions. A delicious hearty soup for the extra cold days.
- Galbi (Beef Short Ribs) - 1 kg (~2 lbs)
- Onion - 1/2 a whole
- Korean radish - 1/4 a whole (reference video)
- Spring onion - forearm pieces (use both white and green portions)
- Garlic - 10 cloves
- Water - 8 cups
- Mirin (or any white cooking wine) - 1/3 cup
- Eggs - 2
- Dangmyeon noodles (Korean Potato Starch Noodles) - 1 quarter-sized bundle
- Soy Sauce - 2 Tablespoons (if you have soup soy sauce, even better!)
- Minced garlic - 1 Tablespoon
- Salt - 2 teaspoons (add more if needed)
- Black pepper - few shakes
Dipping Sauce for Galbi pieces (Optional)
- Soy Sauce - 1 Tablespoon
- Vinegar - 1 teaspoon (apple cider, white, rice vinegar all ok!)
- Sesame seeds - few shakes (optional)
Galbi and Veggie Prep
- Take out a large mixing bowl. Put galbi pieces in. Then fill the bowl with cold water. Let the pieces soak for at least 2 hours. (If you are not in a rush, let it sit for 4-6 hours.) Drain and rinse each piece under cold water.
- Then take out a large pot and place the galbi pieces in. Put enough water to cover the pieces. Bring the pot up to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a medium-low. Let it gently boil for 5 minutes. Drain the galbi pieces and give another rinse under cold water.
- Cut a section of the Korean radish (reference video for measurements) and peel it. Then peel the skin off the onion. Cut spring onion into the right size. Also pick out 10 garlic cloves.
- Take out your biggest pot (enough to comfortably fit in >8 cups of water). Place in the galbi pieces on the bottom. Then place in the onion, Korean radish, and garlic cloves. Fill the pot with 8 cups of water. Finally, place in mirin (or white wine).
- Bring the large pot up to a boil on high heat. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a medium-low. (Note: double check that you have a gentle simmer - we don't want a roaring boil!). Then put the lid-on on the pot. Let the pot gently simmer for a total of 1 hour. However, set a timer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take off the lid. Then take out the Korean radish piece only. Let it cool down. Then chop the radish into small bite-sized pieces. Set aside for later.
- Put the lid back on the pot and let the rest boil for the final 30 minutes.
- While you wait on the last 30 minutes, we will create a few toppings. The first is the egg strips. Take out two small bowls. Crack both eggs and separate the egg yolks. Whisk both the egg whites and egg yolks.
- Take out a frying pan. Put it on a low heat. Put some oil in. Then once it is hot, pour the egg white in and make a mini egg patty. Set aside on your cutting board. Then repeat for the egg-yolks. When both patties have cooled down, cut each into long-thin strips. Set aside.
- Next, we will prep the dangmyeon noodles: Fill a mixing bowl with cold water. Grab a quarter-sized bundle of noodles (~1 serving). Place it in the water. Let it soak in the water until broth is finished.
- After 1 hour of boiling, take the lid off the pot. Pick out all of the remaining vegetables: onion, spring onion and garlic pieces.
- Then use a soup ladle to skim the oil off the top of the broth.
- Take a sip of the soup - as its good to know what the unseasoned broth tastes like. Then season the soup: place in soy sauce, minced garlic, salt and black pepper. You can add more later if you want.
- Add the diced Korean radish pieces back into the soup.
- Put the lid back on the soup and let it cook for a final 10 minutes. The seasoning and soup will come together. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat.
- If you will not eat the whole pot (~3 servings) in one setting, I would advise to make individual servings. Take out a small pot. Then drain the soaked dangmeyon noodles and add a small handful of it into the pot. Then place-in three short ribs. Add in a few ladles of the soup - make sure to get some of the radish pieces as well.
- Bring the individual up to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes or until the dangmeyon noodles turn soft. Turn off the heat. Pour into a bowl.
- Garnish with egg strips and spring onions. Now, take a sip of the soup. If it tastes slightly bland, feel free to add a few shakes of salt (or dash of soy sauce).
- You can also make a dipping sauce for the short ribs. Simply mix soy sauce, vinegar and sesame seeds together. Bon Appetite!
- Eat with a bowl of hot rice
- If you have soup soy sauce, use that. It is slightly saltier and lighter in color. Makes for a clearer broth.
- See video for more details