Sunday, October 25, 2009

Short Rib Soup!

So, one of our readers, Mrs. RCA asked for Short Rib and here it is. I actually made some okra and short rib curry last week but forgot to take photos! And, here's our first recipe. This is my version of Kalbi Tang. Usually, restaurants and some home cooks will use MSG or Powdered Beef Stock (Sogogi Dashida). It does add flavor and a slightly enhanced soup, but MSG gives me headaches, makes me dehydrated, and food coma'd. Some people aren't affected by MSG so its up to you.

Here's my recipe, I'm sure you can find others online, but I like it this way. (FYI, I don't measure, so just estimate to taste)

1) Take your meat (i had about 3.5 lbs short ribs bone in. make sure bone in! more flavor) and put in a big bowl of cold water and a dash of vinegar to drain blood. Usually 30 minutes is enough. Change water halfway through.

2) Take the beef, dry off, and marinate in a mixture of Korean soup soy sauce (Gook Ganjang) and corn starch (just a lil to make the soy stick). Let sit 30 minutes.
(NOTE: a lot of other recipes use green onion, sesame oil, garlic, don't bother. the soup will have plenty of flavor. I even skip this step entirely sometimes because I just like the straight forward flavor of beef. SO, this step is optional)

3) Take oil (not olive, canola/corn/veggie, all ok), heat in a stock pot and add the beef. Sautee the beef 5 minutes till brown.

This is important. Most Korean restaurants will not sautee the beef. They boil it in water. Korean style soups are very clean, clear, and straight forward flavors. I love it. If you like it that way, skip step three and boil the short ribs in water for 5 minutes until foam and oil rises to the top. Then toss out the first (i.e. the water), and reboil a pot of water and put the short ribs in. I sautee and brown because I like the extra flavor from the oil of the beef. All preference!

4) Once the beef is browned, add 3 large green onions (scallions, if you must use big words) chopped into 3rds. If you are lazy, you can also chop up a half head of garlic and put it in now, but I usually do it separately as step 5.

5) In a separate sautee pan, heat up oil and sautee half a head of garlic till almost brown, but don't burn.

6) The green onions should be a nice bright green by now from sauteeing with the beef. You will smell a nice aroma already. Add about 2.5 quarts of water (i don't measure, i just put in like 4 to 5 bowls of water). Use your best judgment and just eye it. The key is a good proportion of meat to water.

7) Take your garlic oil and pour into the soup stock. I like this because the oil from sauteeing garlic gives great flavor. Feel free to put some water into the sautee pan and pour into stock pot just to get all the good flavor.

8) Bring to a boil and cover. After 15 minutes, skim the top and get the foam out.

9) Add Asian Radish (Daikon) chopped into nice chunks

10) Check back every 30 minutes and if the water gets too low, add water. It should cook a good hour and a half. Check the tenderness of the short ribs. When they are fork tender, the soup is done.

9) Once the short ribs are done, add salt and white pepper, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Then, check flavor. Do you have too much water? Too little? play with the proportions but don't over salt or pepper.

10) I always have one bowl the first day I make it, but it really tastes better the next day. That's why you don't want to over salt/pepper. The next day, the flavors come together and become more concentrated. Plus, if you are health conscious, you can skim the fat off the soup in the morning and then you have a VERY healthy beef soup to start your day or if you have a cold. I usually keep a pot of this in the fridge during the winter.

11) When you want to eat it, take some vermicelli mung bean noodles (very easy to find at asian grocer, they come in little bags wrapped in a big flourescent pink netting). They are transparent noodles! Not rice noodles! This is key, they have a much different texture. All you have to do is bring the soup to a boil, drop in the noodles and they cook almost instantly.


  1. MMMmmm delish. Thanks so much! I can't wait to try it.

  2. its good if you make some rice and put it in the soup too!