Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Korean BBQ: Marinated short ribs in lettuce leaves


When I was a kid, my dad worked in downtown New York City, so trips to Chinatown were frequent treats. We'd ride the train in with mom, visit the South Street Seaport, and head to Chinatown for supper. We were exposed to lots of different Chinese food, but it wasn't until colelge that I became familiar with other Asian cuisines. My sophomore and junior years, I had a Vietnamese roommate who introduced me to the food she'd grown up on. Then senior year I had a Korean roommate. It was Julie who first introduced me to Korean barbecue and such things as kimchee. After college, we often met in New York for trips to Kum Gang San, one of our favorite spots in Koreatown.

Our trips to New York have become less frequent, but my love of Korean food has not. I've only tried making Korean once before and it was a debacle. I attempted kimchee - in Jeff's apartment building in Jersey City. We still laugh about how terrible if turned out and how awful the cabbage and vinegar smelled. It was quite possibly the worst meal I've ever cooked.

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So naturally I had some hesitations about trying to make Korean food again. But I happened to catch an episode of Grill It with Bobby Flay and he and a Korean friend visited Kum Gang San and then made homemade Kalbi (Korean short ribs) and a delicious looking cucumber salad. I had to try it... and you should too. These make a wonderful spring or summer dinner - serve them with steamed rice in lettuce wraps for a fresh dinner. I also served the cucumber salad on the side along with some store-bought kimchi (I have not yet receoved from the last fiasco).

Jeff's verdict was that he'd definitely have it again. He said he might even request it for his birthday. But we both agreed the meat would've been more flavorful had we sliced the beef before marinating it. so I've modified the recipe accordingly.


Note: Boneless short ribs can be hard to find - I found these beauties at Whole Foods. Most of the other ingredients can be found at an Asian market or your local supermarket.

Korean Barbecued Short Ribs (Kalbi)
adapted from foodnetwork.com

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 Korean pear or Asian pear, grated with juices
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 small white onion, grated or thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) can lemon-lime soda (Sprite or 7-Up)

2 pounds boneless short ribs
Cooked white rice, for serving
12-16 large Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Gochuchang paste
Toasted seasme seeds (optional)

Cut the short ribs against the grain into slices about 1/4 inch thick.
Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a large baking dish.

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Add the ribs and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight; it is best if marinated overnight.

korean-bbq (2)

korean-bbq (14)Heat grill to high. Remove short ribs from marinade and grill short ribs until slightly charred and tender and cooked to desired degree of doneness. Serve short ribs in lettuce leaves with rice, gochuchang paste, and sesame seeds.

Serves 4.

Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Moochim)
adapted from foodnetwork.com

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1/2 cup distilled vinegar or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons seasoned gochuchang paste, or more to taste, recipe follows (I used about 6!)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 Korean or kirby cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small white onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

korean-bbq (6) korean-bbq (8)

Whisk together the vinegar, soy, sugar, gochuchang, and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add the cucumber and onion and stir until combined. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and let marinate at least 1 hour before eating.

Seasoned Gochuchang Paste (seasoned red pepper paste):

korean-bbq (4)

4 tablespoons gochuchang (available at Korean grocers)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.
Gochuchang (GOH-choo-jang) paste: spicy red pepper paste sold either in glass jars or plastic containers that can be purchased at any Korean or Asian food market.


Mark said...

This looks great! Awesome plate presentation on the top pic! Well done.


SashaInTheKitchen said...

I love korean BBQ - love going out for it here in NYC and your korean bbq is just how I like it. Looks awesome and something I will totally have to try

Catherine said...

Wow this looks incredible! So delicious!

Le said...

My brother's gf is korean so she cooks a lot of korean food for us or takes us to korean bbq restos and I absolutely love it. Your korean bbq looks amazing, I must try making this one day! Great job :)

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Amazing all around. Recipe, photography, writing. Great post!

MaryMoh said...

Wow....everything looks delicious here...my favourite. Korean food is one of my top favourites. The hot bean paste is just fabulous. I use it often in my cooking too.

penny aka jeroxie said...

The boneless short ribs look amazing!

Anonymous said...

The flavors sound amazing, excellent dinner!

Rochelle said...

I love Asian food, especially Korean so that marinade for the short ribs has be drooling a bit over here!

Liv Wan said...

I love Korean BBQ.
Thank you for sharing this recipe.
It's like impossible to have Korean BBQ in the UK, well, It's not in the city I live at least.
I will certainly try this recipe at home.

Anonymous said...

nice opinion.. thanks for sharing....

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