2000s Recipes + Menus

Short Rib and Vegetable Stew

Serves8 (main course)
  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:1 day (includes soaking and chilling)
March 2009
“Koreans are short rib masters,” says food editor Lillian Chou, who lived and cooked in Korea for several years. “It’s their favorite cut.” While some ribs are sliced thin, marinated, and grilled, others are reserved for stews and soups. Kalbi jjim, one of the country’s best-known concoctions, shares some ingredients with a European beef stew—namely, carrots, onions, and potatoes—but here the brothy, slightly sweet dish gets its robust undertones from dried mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce, and molasses, plus a dollop of hot red-pepper paste. Though it is rustic-looking, the meat’s tenderness and the broth’s amazing depth make clear why this dish is a national treasure.
  • 6 lb beef short ribs (with bone; preferably cut into 2-inch pieces by butcher)
  • 8 cups cold water plus 4 cups hot water
  • 12 large dried Chinese black mushrooms
  • 1 lb boiling potatoes
  • 1 (3/4-lb) Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 large carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 cup dried red dates (optional)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • 1 tablespoon Korean hot red-pepper paste plus additional for serving
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • Cover short ribs with cold water and soak, chilled, at least 2 hours.
  • Drain ribs and transfer to an 8- to 10-qt heavy pot with cold water (8 cups). Simmer ribs, partially covered, skimming any foam, 2 hours. Chill ribs in liquid (covered once cool) until fat solidifies, about 4 hours.
  • Meanwhile, soak mushrooms in hot water (4 cups), turning occasionally, until softened, about 1 hour. Squeeze excess liquid from mushrooms and reserve 2 cups soaking liquid; cut off and discard mushroom stems, then halve caps.
  • Discard fat from ribs and return to a simmer. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces, then add to ribs with radish, carrots, garlic, dates (if using), soy sauce, fish sauce, molasses, red-pepper paste, mushrooms, reserved mushroom-soaking liquid, and water (if necessary) to barely cover meat and vegetables with liquid. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
  • Stir in onion and scallions and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender and vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Skim off any fat, then stir in sesame oil. Stir before serving and serve additional red-pepper paste on the side.
Cook’s notes:
  • Soaked and simmered ribs (without vegetables) can be chilled up to 1 day.
  • Stew improves in flavor if made 1 day (and up to 3 days) ahead and chilled (covered once cool).
  • We’ve also got Web-exclusive recipes using the leftover dried black mushrooms and red dates.
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