Monday, December 19, 2011

Kalbi (갈비)


Korean barbecue is probably the most well-known aspect of Korean cuisine to foreigners and it's one of my family's favorite things to eat.

For the marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or any mild oil)
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (the kind you put on pizza)
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 cup sugar (I use light brown but granulated is fine)
few drops sesame oil

Whisk it up with a fork until the sugar is dissolved.
The marinade should yield enough liquid to coat a 2.5 to 3 lb package of sliced Korean short ribs.

I like to make the marinade in a big bowl (big enough to hold all of the meat) and dip each piece one by one and then pile them up. I usually do this one day ahead and let the meat marinade overnight, turning the meat (bringing the pieces on the bottom up to the top) a few times to let the flavor get evenly distributed.
To cook these, we either do it on the grill outside (weather permitting) or in the broiler. I use a cookie sheet, line it with foil, and lay a few pieces down and cook until brown and yummy.
Plate it up and serve.


We usually make ssam (lettuce wraps) with the meat and a nice accompaniment to that is scallion salad. Most Korean barbecue restaurants will serve this with the meat and it's really easy to make at home.

1 bunch of scallions (5 or 6 stalks)
1 teaspoon Korean hot pepper flake (NOT the kind you put on pizza)
1 tablespoon apple vinegar

Three ingredients, 5 minutes of prep time; that's it, so easy!

Rinse the scallions, cut off the root ends, and cut into thirds.
Then either using a knife or your fingers (I use the knife on the white ends and fingers on the greens) cut up the scallions into ribbons.
Right before serving, pour in the pepper flakes and vinegar and toss gently.
And that's all there is to it. You want to dress the scallions at the last minute, otherwise they get really soggy and too pungent. You lose the crispness of the scallions and the vinegar overpowers the dish.

Enjoy.

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