A couple of weeks ago, Annie catered a lunch to thank all the volunteers who helped out at our church’s summer VBS program. She needed something that she could prepare in mass quantities ahead of time, cook fast, and please the Asian palates of the volunteers. She decided to make a big batch of kalbi.
The other day, Annie got this email from a friend of ours who had eaten some of Annie’s kalbi at the appreciation lunch. (The names have been blanked out to protect the guilty):
So… you ever have one of those dining experiences in which a particular food was so bad, it created a craving for a better version of that food? ****** just did that to me today. We went over today for a visit and to run an errand for her. She had some short ribs marinating for a bbq (I know, I know, it’s grilling, not a bbq) tomorrow and gave us some to cook at home.
We got home and I could already smell that the beef was beyond prime. Dutifully, I broiled them a little longer to kill off them buggers, but to no avail. We all tried eating a piece, and then we moved on to better things… like dessert. They tasted like they’d been sitting in the fridge since Monday. All along, the only thing I could think of was the heavenly kalbi you made for VBS. So now I’m bugging you for the recipe and I will not let you rest until I get it. =P You can place all the blame on ******.
Lovingly from Annie’s Fan Club Member #84756
This killer kalbi recipe was given to Annie by our Pastor’s wife Sandy who, besides being a great friend and role model, is also an excellent Korean cook.
Sandy’s Killer Korean Kalbi
2 pounds of thin-sliced beef short ribs (We picked up our short ribs for kalbi for $3.99 / lb from the Kyo-Po Market on El Camino Real in Santa Clara. You should be able to find thin-sliced beef short ribs for kalbi at your local Asian grocery. If not, simply use regular beef short ribs.)
Rinse the ribs, pat them dry, and place them in a pan or dish large enough to hold all the meat and then some.
1/2 cup grated onions
2 Tbsp honey (or use 1 can of 7-up in place of honey)
Puree the onion in a food processor until it is almost liquid.
Pour the grated onion over the beef and add the honey (we used 7-Up instead). Turn each of the ribs so they are all coated. Let sit for 2-3 hours to tenderize the beef. Drain the pre-marinade liquid. You don’t have to scrape off the onion solids but just get rid of most of the liquid.
5 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
2 tsp Korean toasted sesame oil
2 stalks green onion, minced
4 tsp chopped garlic (1 to 2 cloves)
2 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp ginger root, grated
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour over the pre-marinated kalbi. Marinate ovenight.
Annie prepared the kalbi days ahead of time, so she put the short ribs in a large oven roasting bag, poured the kalbi marinade over the ribs, and put the roasting bag in the freezer. The day before she was going to grill the kalbi, she took the bag of kalbi out from the freezer to thaw and finish marinating.
Preheat your grill to high and clean the grates. Grill the kalbi very quickly, no more than 2 minutes per side.
Remember, these kalbi are very thin, and your grill is very hot. They will overcook easily and can turn from a mouth-watering, tender piece of beef into a tough, dry, burnt piece of jerky in a minute. It’s okay if the meat is still a little pink in the middle. It’s not okay to get distracted and forget to keep an eye on the kalbi. Be careful!
I call this a “killer” kalbi recipe because after you’re done eating, all that’s left will be a pile of bones. Many people have told us, and I agree, that this kalbi recipe is better than the kalbi you can find in most Korean restaurants. So try this kalbi recipe out for yourself and tell us what you think!