Galbi-jjim 갈비찜 (Korean Beef Short-rib Stew)

Winter is almost upon us here in South Africa, and with that fresh North-westerly blowing through the valley, comes the knowledge that it’s time to start thinking about bowls of stew in front of the fireplace again.

Unlike most people I know, I revel in colder climes, loving the darker days and promise of icy rains. With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising to know that I enjoy nothing more than spending such days fussing over a bubbling pot of hearty concoctions. Epitomising winter food for so many of us, the humble stew is perhaps arguably the most universal form of cooking. Across the globe, from Inuit blubber stew to the Seychellois fruit bat civet de chauve souris, almost every culture has a stew or two in their collective repertoire.

Though typically regarded as fermenters and grill masters, Koreans are no exception with an array of stews designed to get them through their harsh winters.  Dak-dori-tang (spicy chicken) and kimchijjigae (pork & kimchi) are both classics examples and a bowl of either would warm you right up. Their spicy nature, however, isn’t to everyone’s taste. Traditionally milder in flavour, galbi-jjim is no less hearty, but without the heartburn.

Sweet, rich, and savoury, galbi-jjim is traditionally made with beef short ribs, which are braised till fork-tender and the beef has rendered its flavour into the sauce. Simply served with a bowl of steaming rice and some aged mak kimchi on the side, this stew is a cure for even the darkest winter-blues.

It may be true to say that both dak-dori-tang and kimchi-jjigae ignite a fire in your belly, but equally galbi-jjim is like finding a hot water bottle at the bottom of a chilly bed.

Now to my mind, that’s my ultimate winter-bliss – Korean-style.

For more Korean recipes from The Muddled Pantry, please click here.

For tips on stocking a Korean Pantry, please click here

Galbi-jjim 갈비찜 (Korean Beef Short-rib Stew) Serves 4 to 6


  • 800 grams beef short-ribs, 5 cm blocks
  • 150 grams daikon (white Asian radish)
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

Seasoning Sauce: 

  • 70 ml light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp sake or vodka
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 spring onion, minced
  • 3 cm ginger, grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp ground toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 apple, peeled and cored, then pureed


  1. Re-hydrate the dried mushrooms by submerging them in freshly boiled water for at least 30 minutes
  2. Soak the beef in cold water for 30 minutes to remove the excess blood
  3. Remove and rinse the beef, then place in a stock pot and cover in fresh cold water
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour
  5. In a bowl, combine all the seasoning sauce ingredients
  6. Dice the daikon and carrots into similarly sized chunks. Cut the onion into wedges, and cut the hydrated mushrooms in half
  7. Remove the meat and reserve the cooking liquid (to be used as stock)
  8. Trim any gristle and excess fat from the meat, and then chop into 2 cm blocks
  9. In a clean pot, return the meat and 3/4 of the seasoning sauce. Add 3 cups of the reserved stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rolling simmer, cook for 20 minutes.
  10. Add the prepared vegetables and simmer till tender
  11. If the sauce is too thin, mix together the cornflour with a bit of water. Add this, then simmer for a final few minutes before serving.

Serve with: a bowl of steaming rice and some napa cabbage kimchi or daikon kimchi on the side

Substitutes: if you can’t find daikon (Asian White Radish), replace it with potato.

Note: if you would like to spice up your galbi-jjim you can! Just add a couple of tablespoons of gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) to the stew’s seasoning sauce,  and you’ll be good to go.

For more Korean recipes from The Muddled Pantry, please click here.

For tips on stocking a Korean Pantry, please click here


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