Monday, December 12, 2011

Kalbi Tang (갈비탕)

It finally got cold enough for my down jacket this past weekend so I was set on eating comforting warm foods. I got a craving for kalbi tang (short rib soup) so I decided to make some. However, we didn't have any kalbi (I used it all up to make the kalbi jjim) so I made the soup from oxtails. For me, kalbi tang is not about the meat but about the soup so I didn't care.

Ingredients:
3/4 lb oxtails or short ribs
1 gallon water
5 cloves of garlic
1 slice of onion
1/2 cup Korean radish or daikon, chopped into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
few drops of sesame oil
handful of Korean glass noodles (made from sweet potato starch)
salt to taste

It took about two days to make this because of the process to make the stock. I soaked the oxtails in cold water for a few hours to drain the "blood" (the red liquid is actually myoglobin, a protein, not blood) because the goal is to have a really clear, not cloudy soup. I drained and replaced the soaking water a few times.

After the soaking, I put the oxtails in a big stock pot with a gallon of water and brought it to a boil. Once it was boiling, I added in a few cloves of garlic. The garlic adds flavor and also helps take that gamey smell out of the stock. Then I reduced the heat to let the stock simmer.
After simmering for two hours, I turned off the heat and brought the pot to the garage where it could cool down. If it's not cold enough outside (warmer than 40 degrees) or if it's too cold outside (below freezing) or if you don't have a garage or space to put the pot outside, just make room in your fridge for the pot. I left it in the garage overnight so that all of the saturated fats would congeal and I could skim them off with a strainer. I do skim some foam off while the stock is simmering, but the bulk of the icky fat is removed most easily when it's solidified.

To make the kalbi tang, I used about half of the stock (about 5 or 6 cups) and a different pot (the leftover stock can be eaten as broth with rice or for a 2nd batch of kalbi tang). I added the chopped up radish, ginger, onion, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the stock and brought it to a boil. About 5 minutes before I was ready to serve, I added in the glass noodles. I put them in at the last minute so they wouldn't overcook and turn crumbly.
I added a few chives for color and added salt to my taste. We leave a big container of salt on the dinner table so each person can add as much or as little salt as they'd like. Serve with a bowl of white rice.
And here's a close up of the noodles, if you've never seen them before.
Enjoy and keep warm :)

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